Wonderla plans to buy over-indebted theme parks

Wonderla Holidays has earmarked investments worth 500 crore to establish small-scale parks and resorts, coupled with the acquisition of some over-indebted theme parks in the country and the upcoming installation in Chennai .

After Covid, several theme parks across the country are in financial crisis or have gone bankrupt with the pandemic that hit their business prospects. “We are exploring opportunities to take over the operations of at least 3 to 4 theme parks in Gujarat, Maharashtra and the NCR, either through an equity investment or a management contract,” said Arun K Chittilappilli, Managing Director of Wonderla Holidays. Activity area.

Discussions are ongoing and it would take at least a year for the deal to come to fruition, he added.

New park in TN

The Wonderla amusement park, which is coming to Chennai, is expected to be operational by next year. “So far we have invested around 100 crore in the facility, which includes land, land development and the purchase of overland routes. The works have been suspended due to the lockdown and we are awaiting further authorizations from the new government of Tamil Nadu to continue the remaining works, ”he said.

Arun also pointed out that the company has expressed interest in the Odisha government’s invitation to set up an amusement park there.

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Savings measures

Asked about the impact of the pandemic, he said the lockdown had severely affected the business and the net loss was in the order of 48 crore. The revenue was literally zero, but the company had taken multiple cost cutting and streamlining measures to reduce cash consumption.

He also praised employees who voluntarily claimed a deduction of around 50 to 75 percent of their pay.

However, he added that the amusement park industry is on track for a revival with the easing of the lockdown. The Hyderabad park will be operational on August 5, followed by Bengaluru. However, opening the Kochi facility will take a bit longer as the Covid curve has yet to soften in Kerala.

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On the road to renewal

There has been an encouraging trend in the market, thanks to the crowds showing interest in visiting amusement parks. It is a sign towards reviving local tourism, he said and called on governments to take proactive measures effectively to maintain momentum.

“Wonderla Parks have been visited by nearly 3.5 million visitors since 2000 and we are ready to woo visitors with the lockdown lifted as the company administered Covid vaccines to 90% of the staff,” Arun adds.

The company also made a strategic shift to digital marketing during the Covid era through booking websites for entry. Almost 40% of tickets are now available through online bookings, he said, adding that plans are also underway to run promotional offers.

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