Putting the won­der back in won­der­land

The two big­gest amuse­ment parks in In­dia – one the old­est, the other youngest – vie for agents’ at­ten­tion. Here’s a low­down of what Es­selWorld and Ad­labs Imag­ica are do­ing to re­main one up.

TravTalk - India - - DESTINATIO­N - HAZEL JAIN

Imag­ine this

While re­cov­er­ing from cel­e­brat­ing the en­vi­ous one mil­lion-mark, Ad­labs Imag­ica en­sured that it shared the good news with ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially the agents. Claim­ing to be In­dia’s “only in­ter­na­tional stan­dard theme park” it achieved this feat within a year of op­er­a­tions. Imag­ica’s CEO, Kapil Bagla, finds it hard to hide his ex­cite­ment.

”We launched in April 2013 and crossed the one-mil­lion mile­stone by July 2014. While word-of­mouth and di­rect ad­ver­tis­ing has helped, our part­ner agents have done a fab­u­lous job. We are con­stantly adding and up­dat­ing our part­ner­ships with agents based on per­for­mance. We are now look­ing to add more agents to our fold to reach our next tar­get of two mil­lion vis­i­tors! This is not too far as we are grow­ing at 18-20% per year,” Bagla said.

We are look­ing to add more agents to our fold to reach our next tar­get of two mil­lion vis­i­tors! We are grow­ing at 18-20% per year

Of the to­tal vis­i­tors, it re­ceived over 2.2 lakh school­child­ren from 550 schools from across In­dia. This seg­ment there­fore is a huge mar­ket for the park and it is keen on oper- ators and agents who have in­roads into schools. The trade cur­rently sells through an API on the park’s web­site.

Bagla added, “We have strate­gic part­ner­ships with mul­ti­ple travel op­er­a­tors in­clud­ing Cox & Kings, Kuoni-SOTC, Ar­zoo.com and Kesari Tours. We mostly fo­cus on agents from the western re­gion, since our catch­ment ar­eas are Ma­ha­rash­tra and Gu­jarat.”

Ad­labs Imag­ica is also busy con­struct­ing a 287-key ho­tel that will be com­pleted in two phases – 2014-end and mid-2015. “We are cur­rently in talks with ho­tel man­age­ment com­pa­nies, but haven’t fi­nalised any­one yet. It will be pro­moted to the leisure and fam­ily seg­ment as well as the wed­ding mar­ket,” he said.

Old is gold

Mean­while, not too far from Khopoli, Pan In­dia Pary­atan has in­vested around US$ 5 mil­lion ( 50 lakh) on new rides and spruc­ing up fa­cil­i­ties at Es­selworld and Wa­ter King­dom over the last three years. Talk­ing about trade en­gage­ments, Shirish Desh­pande, CEO of Pan In­dia Pary­atan, says, “We have a strong net­work of travel agents in Gu­jarat, Delhi, Mumbai and the rest of Ma­ha­rash­tra. We are as­so­ci­ated with a to­tal of 250 agents which help us get tourists from across In­dia. We cre­ate at­trac­tive pack­ages which are com­bined with travel agents’ pack­ages. They also en­joy of­fers that are avail­able on­line as well as spe­cial pack­ages made specif­i­cally for each travel agent. We also keep them up­dated about the prod­uct and give them free­dom to present us new of­fers which are ben­e­fi­cial for us, travel agents and as well as our guests.” As of now, the company is not plan­ning another Es­selWorld in In­dia, but it does boast of a Radis­son Blu Es­selWorld in the vicin­ity. This helps them at­tract a lot of MICE traf­fic. “We do get a lot of cor­po­rates who do their an­nual get-to­geth­ers, prod­uct launches, etc; and we of­fer them spe­cial dis­counts on group book­ings. We also do a lot of cor­po­rate tie-ups for in­cre­men­tal foot­falls and ad­vance re­al­i­sa­tion of ticket rev­enue,” Desh­pande said. It re­cently tied up with Mahin­dra&Mahin­dra, Fu­ture Group and Gu­jarat Am­buja for this. Speak­ing about the trend in amuse­ment parks in In­dia, he ob­serves that a lot of new play­ers are com­ing up.

Kapil Bagla

CEO Ad­labs Imag­ica

Shirish Deshpande

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