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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Legoland aims for one million visitors

Siegfried Borst (left) and Zainal Ashikin Muhammad Rejab looking at a model of pre-war shop houses made of Lego bricks.

NUSAJAYA: Legoland Development, the operator of Legoland Malaysia Theme Park being built here, expects to see one million visitors passing through its gates in the first year of operations.

Legoland Malaysia Project senior director of operations Siegfried Borst said the company was confident of achieving the target based on the high number of family institutions in the region.

He said unlike in developed countries where the birth rate was declining from year to year, most Asian countries still recorded high birth rate.

“Our theme park targets families with young children aged between two and 12 years old and this demographic serves our business strategy well,'' said Borst.

He was speaking at a press conference after a tour for the media to preview the ongoing development at the Legoland site.

Borst said work on the RM720mil project was progressing well and the theme park was expected to open its doors to visitors towards the end of 2012.

The 26ha theme park will offer 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions. It is located in the centre of a 59ha site in Medini North, a zone dedicated to lifestyle development.

Legoland Malaysia Theme Park is the first component to be developed within Legoland Malaysia Resort. The whole project will also have a retail mall, themed hotel, business hotel as well as office and residential areas.

“We are yet to determine the entrance charges. Our next priority is to talk with potential trade partners to market our park,'' he said.

Borst said unlike other Legoland theme parks which only operated eight months a year and closed during winter, Legoland Malaysia would operate all-year round.

He said the main challenge in developing the park in Malaysia was the “sun and rain”, thus more covered pedestrian walkways needed to be built and trees to be planted.

The other Legoland theme parks are Legoland Billund (Denmark), Legoland Windsor (near London, Britain), Legoland Deutschland (Germany) and Legoland California (the United States).

Legoland Malaysia will have miniature replicas of iconic buildings and structures from across Asia. These include Petronas Twin Towers and India's Taj Mahal.

IDR Resorts director Zainal Ashikin Muhammad Rejab said Legoland Malaysia would create about 1,000 jobs for locals and bring spillover effects to Nusajaya. IDR Resorts is part of Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB).

IIB had, in December 2008, signed an agreement with Merlin Entertainment Group, which will design and operate Legoland Malaysia.

Zainal said with the opening of Legoland Malaysia, IIB would position Medini North as a tourism hub in the 9,712.45ha Nusajaya.

“An indoor theme park is also coming up at Puteri Harbour just a few kilometers away from Legoland Malaysia and both parks will complement each other to attract visitors,” he said.

The government-backed IIB was formed on Nov 3, 2006 to drive commercial initiatives in Iskandar Malaysia via joint ventures and by offering its land.

By The Star

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