Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in location-based entertainment with brands including LEGOLAND, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE, has entered into a formal co-operation agreement to create the world’s first standalone Peppa Pig Resort in Meishan, part of Sichuan Tianfu New Area, China. This will be established in partnership with the Meishan Administration Committee of Sichuan Tianfu New Area, Zhongjun Tianxin (Beijing) Investment Co., Ltd., Chengdu Excellent City Property and Hasbro Inc.
A ceremony took place with attendees including Sichuan provincial-level and Meishan municipal-level senior officials, senior officials from Meishan Administration Committee of Tianfu New Area and corporate representatives of Merlin Entertainments, Hasbro Inc., Excellence Group, and Zhongjun Tianxin Group.
The Resort will be the world’s first ever Peppa Pig Resort, including a Peppa Pig Theme Park, a Peppa Pig Hotel, as well as a brand-new SEA LIFE aquarium positioned adjacent to the park. Families will be able to squeal with delight as they jump into the playful world of Peppa Pig for an unforgettable trip packed full of adventure. It has been designed to be the ultimate experience for pre-school children, with the theme park featuring multiple rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes and water play areas – complete with “muddy puddles” – all based on instantly recognisable locations from the globally popular brand.
Construction is due to begin in July 2021, and the Resort is expected to open in 2024, with Merlin and its Chinese partners dedicated to developing the attraction into a global flagship resort. The project will attract a combination of domestic visitors and foreign tourists, which will significantly contribute to Meishan’s employment and tax revenue and contribute to the further development of supporting industries. The new joint venture will also aid the rapid development of Sichuan’s cultural tourism industry and raise the international profile of both Sichuan and Meishan.
Merlin Entertainments has a strategic partnership agreement with Hasbro, owner of the Peppa Pig brand, to build and operate Peppa Pig attractions targeted at the pre-school market as part of its broader strategy to engage in IP partnerships with some of the world’s most popular brands. Over the past three years Merlin has launched two “in-park” lands within Heide Park and Gardaland Resort in Germany and Italy respectively, with a recently announced, standalone Peppa Pig Theme Park also planned to open in Florida in 2022.
Merlin has also been rolling out an indoor play centre concept that they developed with Hasbro called “Peppa Pig World of Play”, which currently consists of three sites in the US and one in Shanghai – with further openings planned in 2022 and beyond. China, in particular, is a focus of significant development and investment by Merlin and since the start of 2018, the Company has opened six new Midway attractions in-country.
Chief Development Officer for Merlin Entertainments, Mark Fisher, said: “Peppa Pig is a global star among preschoolers, and we are working with Hasbro to bring the excitement and fun of Peppa and her friends to the world’s first standalone Peppa Pig Resort in Sichuan. We have already had great success with our immersive Peppa Pig World of Play attractions in both Asia and the US, and the new resort is set to be a must-visit destination for both domestic visitors and international tourists.
The Merlin team look forward to working with our partners to develop the creative concept design for the Peppa Pig Resort and making it a reality, marking a significant milestone for Merlin’s presence in the Chinese market.”
Ranked Europe’s top and the world’s second-largest tourist attraction operator, Merlin runs more than 135 tourist attractions in 24 countries across Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. Brands operated by Merlin include LEGOLAND, Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE and Peppa Pig.
Peppa Pig is one of the world’s leading preschool brand properties with over 1,000 licensees across 60 countries. The popular television programme is broadcast in 180 territories in 40 different languages, and China is a key market for the brand.
Merlin currently operates 14 Midway attractions in China including LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Centres, the Dungeons, Peppa Pig World of Play and Little BIG City.