Unlike the famous but ill-fated ship itself, plans for a Titanic theme park in China have not gone down well. So much so, in fact, the RMB 1 billion (US$145m) project’s designer has pulled the plug on one of its key attractions.
A full-size replica of the Titanic will form the centrepiece of the park in Sichuan Province, 114km from Chengdu. It will not now, however, be accompanied by an experience simulating an iceberg crash. The project’s developer says the park will be “respectful”. Yet relatives of survivors and victims from the 1912 disaster have branded it “bad taste” – even without the iceberg experience.
“They are using the Titanic because of the tragedy” said Jean Legg at a meeting of the British Titanic Society in April. “My dad lived to be nearly 90 and the sights and sounds of people fighting for their lives stayed with him to the end of his days. I find it very upsetting, I feel they could have replicated another liner.”
Romandisea Seven Star Resort
According to Seven Star chief executive, Su Shaojun, Titanic has “many Chinese fans” thanks to the 1997 film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Mr Su insists the finished project will “respect history and the universal love” of those who died in the tragedy. Bruce Beverage, a US author of a two-volume book on the Titanic and head of the park’s design team, claims he was instrumental in convincing Mr Su to drop plans for the iceberg crash.
Although there are several Titantic attractions around the world, this will be the first to feature a full size replica of the liner. Titanic Belfast, a successful but perhaps more tasteful offering, operates close to where the ship was constructed over a century ago by Harland and Wolff. The “unsinkable” vessel submerged when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.