Storyland Studios, the three-dimensional storytelling firm, has been chosen by Grupo Cataratas, South America’s biggest tourism operator, to design four new location-based entertainment concepts.
Currently, the group operates six locations in Brazil and is in the process of developing more. Grupo Cataratas, which puts conservation, sustainability, and preservation of the natural environment at the heart of its operations, welcomed almost six million visitors in 2019.
Celebrating the natural environment
“Brazil is home to some of the earth’s richest landscapes, and many of the most undiscovered parts of our world; places, communities, cultures and histories that have not yet been documented to this day,” says Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Clients at Storyland Studios.
“Grupo Cataratas are a wonderful organisation because their core purpose is about celebrating and securing the legacy of the natural environment; the flora and the fauna, the indigenous species, the landscapes and the ecology of this beautiful country. Grupo Cataratas see their role as custodians of the natural world, creating educational, fun experiences that immerse and educate people in the things that really matter in our world.”
Grupo Cataratas manages several attractions, including BioParque do Rio, AquaRio, the Paineiras Visitors Center at the base of Corcovado mountain and the Marco das Três Fronteiras tourist complex. It also oversees the Iguaçu National Park and its visitors’ centre, as well as EcoNoronha park. In addition, it will soon open AquaFoz, an aquarium facility that will champion research of both marine and freshwater species.
Grupo Cataratas to grow its tourism offer
Now, the group wants to grow its tourism offerings throughout South America, adding new immersive experiences and attractions, and has chosen Storyland Studios to make this a reality.
“Grupo Cataratas hopes to dive deeper into location-based entertainment, in addition to their current, successful aquarium brand “Aqua” which I had a hand in developing as a consultant,” Thompson says.
“They want to explore other kinds of immersive, story-led visitor experiences they can offer that are in line with their core purpose. These could centre around technology, IP, gaming, or educational content. We’re thrilled to have been selected to help them with this next stage of their journey.”
The company will develop a themed entertainment strategy for Grupo Cataratas, identifying suitable locations for future attractions and working on concept development for these attractions.
“Our team will come alongside Grupo Cataratas to determine whether these attraction sites will utilize existing international or local intellectual property (IP), or develop something completely new for each space,” Thompson says.
The group recently agreed a deal with Turma de Monica, a Brazilian IP owner, which will see it developing a new attraction at AquaRio in Rio de Janeiro. The aim of this project is to rejuvenate the area, which is one of the oldest urban developments in the city, combining its unique heritage with sustainability, inclusivity, modern infrastructure, and innovation.
Going forward, Storyland and Grupo Cataratas will explore different avenues for these immersive attractions, with potential formats including physical activity, IP, edutainment and indoor and outdoor water parks.
“This is a fantastic company for Storyland to work with,” Thompson adds. “Grupo Cataratas leads with their values and the impact they want to have on future generations. Their goal is to both preserve the natural world but to also celebrate its power to educate.
“Grupo Cataratas wants to create ways for people to enjoy landscapes, environments and the natural world in a way that leads to better understanding, better actions for a better world.”
Last month, the company announced the launch of the first-ever Storyland Design Challenge for freelance designers working in the themed entertainment business.
Header image by Gabriel Rissi