Theme park in towns

All work and no weekend will make Jack, Jill and also their families dull. Nowadays weekends are not just a day off from the office but also from the homes, as people love to spend their evenings in malls, theaters, restaurants, pubs, parks or beaches. But these multiple options are available only to the city dwellers. In any typical Indian town, you’ll end up with only one option – Cinema Theaters. Here again the conditions of the movie halls are in no way nearer to their city counterparts.

Theme Parks Vs Theaters:

Well, as the multiplex players like Adlabs, Inox and PVR enter into small towns; movie-viewing experience will get better soon, but what about the quality of the movie? Good movies are very rare these days, so irrespective of the comfort and the best of technologies that these multiplexes bring in, a bad movie will spoil the day, right? Is there anything called a perfect weekend spot then, especially for a family to play, relax and have some fun? I feel beaches are the ideal one. Nobody charges you with any entry fee here. You can play in the water or fly kites or build your dream house in the sands or enjoy the fish fries and onion bajjis or take a long walk along the coast enjoying the breeze or simply listen to the rhythm of the roaring waves. Of course it’s a nature’s gift, so we can’t have one in every town. But the closest to this kind of atmosphere, one can get is in the theme parks.

Where are these theme parks?

Theme parks are present mostly in the cities or in tourist spots, which already have lot of weekend options. Take the case of Tamil Nadu state, it’s capital city Chennai itself has more than six theme parks including the four biggies (Kishkinta, MGM Dizee world, VGP Golden Beach and Queen’s land), and then there is one in Kanyakumari (BayWatch), one near Ooty (Black Thunder in Mettupalayam). And for the rest of the 200 odd towns and cities in Tamil Nadu, there are only two theme parks – Athisayam in Madurai and Siruvani Fun world (Kovai Kondattam) in Coimbatore. Why are these amusement parks not thinking outside the cities? Every player here aspires to be the biggest and hence they are adding more and more rides and pack the theme parks with as many facilities as possible. One needs to spend at least a day in these amusement parks to get their money’s worth and to enjoy all the rides and games.

Will Theme Parks in Towns thrive?

If the theme park concept in town needs to succeed, it will require a totally new thinking from the current model.

  • Think Small: Theme parks need not be spread across acres and acres of land. Instead of offering so many things and pushing people to spend the whole day there, if they provide enough entertainment for 2-3 hrs then it would be better suited to make theme park as a perfect weekend option.
  • Lower Entry Fee: Entry fee in the theme park should be competitive to the ticket price in a best theatre, so that people can choose a theme park over a theatre. Also instead of charging for all facilities, they can go for a pay per use model. Moreover, they can try charging on a per hour basis so that the thought of entry fee itself won’t make people to avoid the theme parks.
  • Regular visitors: Towns do not have large number of floating population or a regular influx of tourists that a city enjoys. So the success of the theme parks here mainly depends on the repeat visitors. Hence theme parks need to offer something new so as to attract people on a regular basis. Instead of having a fixed theme like kids special, they can design theme parks in a way that it can be dressed to fit any theme, say a Bollywood theme or some historical or mythological theme or a sports and fun one like Pogo’s Takeshi’s Castle. If there is a chain of theme parks operated across towns, these themes can be exchanged between towns on a monthly basis to make the business more profitable.

Who will do this?

To implement all these it needs some big players with deep pockets to fund a theme park chain across towns. In India one can’t help thinking of Reliance when it comes to any big projects these days. Reliance Entertainment under Anil Ambani is fast becoming the entertainment empire in India with its focus on movies thru Adlabs, FM radio thru BIG 92.7 FM and online gaming thru its Zapak portal. Will they add this theme park business to their entertainment brand? Or will the elder brother Mukesh wakes up to the entertainment potential in India and start thinking of theme parks to fight with Anil’s theatre business?


  1. Interesting ideas…..

    Disney is another big player in this area……now that they have toon channel for india….Disney site for India…and that they also have plans to buy out animation studios(or have they already? ) in India, they can even think of having theme parks. Its a global brand….hence their location won’t have much negative effect on their reach.
    It is important to encourage kids to watch more cartoons and bring them out of homes to have a playful outing in these theme parks. A lot is to be done to break the mega serial culture, especially in smaller town where they have little alternatives.

  2. rajendran says:

    hai siva
    Even athsiyam is making do u expect the bif player to invest

  3. Siva Rajendran says:

    four d – I’m not sure when’ll Disney open a theme park in India. But the other kids channels cartoon network and pogo have plans to open their theme parks soon.

    check out the link below for more details.
    http:// /catalyst/2006/03/ 30/stories/ 2006033000040100.htm

    rajendran – I’ve gone to the Athisayam theme park recently and was happy with their facilities and maintenance. If they change their pricing structure and improve their marketing efforts they will definitely be more profitable.

    Saravana – Planet Pogo will be coming soon in Delhi-NCR. But only some fresh thinking from a new player will help bring these theme parks to towns.

    06 March, 2007

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