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Attractions celebrating


India's rich cultural heritage and world-class waterparks should both do well here


owner-operators that participate more from a “love” of the product and as much a lifestyle business as one for strict ROI interests. India's income stratifi cation needs to be considered. Although India has a population of 1.1bn, only 20 to 30 per cent are accessible to operators of top-end product and more than half live on less than US$2 (£1.20, €1.39) a day. But that’s still 350 million people! The next issue is that secondary revenue


streams don’t seem to achieve the same contribution levels as their overseas counter- parts. Indians are very price sensitive. Also, affl uent Indians love their food and take great joy from their own cooking – they may think twice about paying for food they can cook better themselves. Additionally, revenue from merchandising programmes in parks reliant on local visitors is always lower than those with a high percentage of tourists. Combine this with the low F&B spend and a low ticket price and profi tability starts to look diffi cult. For attractions of this scale to be profi table


long term, they must generate upwards of 40 per cent of visitation from tourism markets. Given the average spend of the Indian popu- lation, this burden must be shouldered by international visitors, but as India isn’t known for this industry, conversion of international tourism numbers is diffi cult. Here’s the chicken-and-egg problem.


Disney and Universal create awareness and demand, but without the government ad-


www.attractionshandbook.com


Numerous well-established amusement and waterparks operate successfully in India


dressing some of the key barriers relating to infrastructure, it’s diffi cult to see them being interested in the near-term. Indians are proud of their culture, so attrac-


tions celebrating their rich cultural heritage should do well, as should a world-class water- park. Due to the hot climate, the opportunity to operate all year round is plausible in most areas and local markets have responded well to existing waterpark businesses. If these are operated at best industry practice standards, India could attract the elusive international market in at least one sector. However, at the moment, the range of product isn’t so- phisticated or accessible enough to create a real option for Indian families that generates repeat visitation on a profi table scale.


The good news for an operator here is that


labour is plentiful and wage rates are con- tained and affordable. But access to industry expertise is extremely limited, as is an edu- cated and motivated employee base to help create memorable experiences for guests and uphold good operational discipline. Still, major hotels operate successfully, so


perhaps the key is to re-position the industry as tourism. Create the right product with a point of difference, make it accessible and relatively affordable and the visitors will come (assuming of course that marketing is on- target and operational standards are aligned with expectations). Peet Consultants specialises in amusement services in Australia & Asia.


Attractions Handbook 2011-2012 49


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