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INDIA


The Indian attractions industry is set to grow, but how can operators ensure success in a previously untapped country? Jennifer Harbottle gets advice from some industry experts


n paper, India has the potential to be an attrac- tions industry superpower; its population is the second largest on the planet, it has one of the largest and most prosperous middle classes worldwide and is ideally placed geographically between the affl uent markets of Europe and Northern Asia. According to numbers, 11 per cent of household income in India is spent on recreational and cultural services, which compares well to other mature markets like the US (six per cent), UK (12 per cent) and Japan (10 per cent). A report published in May 2010 by global management consulting fi rm McKinsey & Company stated that urban per capita GDP in India will grow six per cent a year from 2005 to 2025, with the number of households with discretionary spending power rising sevenfold to 89 million.


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So why aren’t there more major destination attractions in India sub continent? Why does the industry have such a low profi le among consumers in India? And why are the major players in the international attractions industry yet to stake their claim in this market? IAAPI reports that there are 140 amusement parks in India. As India has more than 1.15 billion people, this seems a gross under-representation. We ask four stakeholders what they think is needed to help India take its place on the world’s attractions’ stage.


46 Attractions Handbook 2011-2012 INDIA ripe for growth?


Harmeet Pental Company director and consumer, Delhi, India


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ach year, my family and I visit a domestic leisure attraction only two or three times. One reason is the cost to get to them,


which is really high when paying for air fares and hotels. But the main reason is that attrac- tions just aren’t very good and aren’t worth the effort, particularly in the north of India where we live. Most are aimed at the lower classes, which means they’re cheap to get in, but are poorly maintained and have no infrastructure. Low ticket prices


crowds don’t have social respect; no one stands in line or follows rules and it makes for an unpleasant experience. In South India, crowds behave better, attractions are of a higher standard and the weather is more tem- perate, so the industry is better serviced. My favourite attraction is Islands of


bring people in, but if all you want are large volumes of visitors, it ends up compromising everything else and there isn’t the manage- ment expertise here to cope with large crowds. These attractions don’t appeal to the middle and upper classes, who’d be willing to pay more if there were quality F&B offers, shade to keep people cool, decent restrooms and well-maintained rides. Also, there’s no control over how many


people are admitted to an attraction, so there are large crowds. In North India in particular,


Most attractions in north India are aimed at the lower classes and service standards are non-existent


Adventure in Orlando. As a family we love waterparks, so enjoy these in the States, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia. With hot weather eight to nine months of the year, India is the perfect place for a waterpark, so it’d be good to see more open here. But to get my family along, I’d have to know who owns and who built the park. Ideally it would be an international brand to instil a feeling of trust regarding safety, as there’s a perception here that local companies cut corners to save money. Also, service stand-


ards are non-existent in Indian attractions, whereas a foreign company would manage its staff and the fl ow of people to make it a better experience. The fact is, there’s noth- ing in India in the way of attractions for the middle and upper classes, so our country loses money to overseas destinations, such as Thailand and Malaysia. Pentel is regional director of student place- ment company IDP Education.


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