Indian theme parks continue to develop and the industry is growing but South-East Asian attractions are luring the most travellers.
Theme parks have captured the imagination of Indian travellers, say industry experts. Bookings are likely to double by 2024.
“There has been an increase of about 13 percent in the bookings for domestic theme parks compared to 2017,” says Karan Anand, Head of Relationships and Supplier Management for Cox & Kings India. “Whereas we continue to witness an increase of close to 18 per cent for international parks.”
Anand says that theme parks are increasingly being seen, not only as vacation destinations, but as places to go on an extended weekend.
“Another trend that we have observed is that parents gift a theme park vacation to the children when they excel in studies or sports,” says Anand. He says theme parks are increasingly being seen as destinations in themselves. “One does not have to go anywhere else,” he says. “We see the demand doubling in the next five years.”
School vacations are key. Peak season for Indian visitors starts in April and runs through until June/July. Traffic then resumes in October. “However, we see a considerable growth in the number of youngsters visiting as well,” says Anand. “The Bollywood parks and water sports parks are a big hit among them. Hence, we can see the season gradually extending to September.”
However the growth in theme park traffic is not limited to families, says Anand: “Women-only groups, couples with no kids, youngsters and also a certain percentage of solo travellers from India are attracted to these parks.”
South-East Asia takes the lead
South-East Asian countries are clearly taking the lead, says Anand. He claims about 60 percent of the total Indian theme park bound traffic heads to places such as LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Singapore.
Bollywood Parks Dubai, Universal Studios Japan, Ocean Park Hong Kong and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi also attract Indian travellers, alongside seasonal attractions such as the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China.
Indian theme parks to grow by up to 13 per cent
Despite this, the domestic market is also seeing growth. Manmeet Ahluwalia, Head of Marketing for Expedia India, says the Indian theme park industry is seeing growth of 11-13 per cent. This mainly comes from cities such as Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Surat, Indore, Bhopal and Jalandhar. “Though the bookings for theme parks are on throughout the year, we have noticed summer vacations are the peak season,” he says, echoing Anand. 3-4 days is the standard booking as the majority of parks have multiple day passes.