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Children the focus of attractions development in Malaysia

Children the focus of attractions development in Malaysia
June 14, 2011

By the end of 2012, Malaysia will have opened two major child-orientated attractions.

With Kuala Lumpur's Sunway Lagoon Resorts having long been the country's major theme park, things are set to change, with the opening of indoor-theme park Kidzania by the end of the year while Legoland Malaysia will open in 2012.

Kidzania's operators Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd (TARSB) are not worried about the competition with TARSB Chief Executive Tunku Dato' Ahmad Burhanuddin recently explaining "the two theme parks serve totally different segments and are in two different geographical areas. There is no comparison really."

TARSB's Kidzania in Kuala Lumpur and IDR Resorts and Merlin Entertainment's Legoland in Johor Bahru, Johor, are set to open within months of each other.

Kidzania Kuala Lumpur is a joint development by TARSB and Boustead Group, via their joint venture Rakan Riang Sdn Bhd.

TARSB is a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional, while IDR Resorts is a member company of Iskandar Investment Bhd of which Khazanah Nasional owns a stake in.

Set more than 400 kilometres apart, Kidzania and Legoland have vastly different themes.

While Kidzania is all about children role-playing as adults, Legoland features the vastly popular Lego themed rides for children.

Kidzania Creator and Chief Executive Xavier Lopez Ancona did mention that he is keen to grow its franchise to other areas, pointing out that a site in Johor Bahru is a possibility.

Currently operating in six countries, Kidzania chooses its locations based on population density, a large demographic of families with children under 14 and the right weather conditions.

Kidzania global Chief Marketing Officer and US President Cammie Dunaway said "it's nice to be in a market that is either pretty hot or pretty cold because then in-door entertainment activities perform pretty well. We also look at markets that are good for our partners and that they are interested in."

Home to almost 60% of the world's children, Asia is a favourite with Kidzania as Ancona explains, "there are very large cities in Asia and the population is much more concentrated compared to other continents which are more scattered."

Pivotal to the setting up of a Kidzania attraction, Kidzania Malaysia has signed up six marketing partners so far, while another 15 have agreed in principle.

In its marketing, Kidzania not only targets families but also schools, Ancona adding "a big surprise for us (when we started out) was to attract schools. If in my time we used to go to museums, now they take kids to Kidzania because under one roof you can see all the educational items."