“Every year industry is seeing 15-20% growth in the sector – be it expansion of existing parks or the setting up of new ones.”
Quick look at tête-à-tête with Ajay Sarin President, Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries on the current situation of amusement parks in the travel and tourism industry.
WHAT LED TO THE FOUNDATION OF “INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF AMUSEMENT PARKS AND INDUSTRIES”?
The entertainment industry in India has been through a phase of explosive growth over 15 years. Yet the single most outstanding thing has been the phenomenal increase witnessed in the theme amusement park industry in terms of investment and footfalls.
Given that amusement parks are not yet recognized as an industry, a need was felt to provide a common platform and a united voice to face the emerging challenges of tomorrow. And that’s how the seeds of “IAAPI” were sown.
IAAPI was incorporated on the 19th January 1999 and registered under section 25 of Company’s Act 1956 as a “Non – Profit Making Organization”. It is the only authentic body of the Amusement & Leisure Industry in India.
WHAT IS THE MOTIVE OF THIS ASSOCIATION? HOW DOES IT PROMOTE AMUSEMENTS PARKS IN INDIA AND WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS IN THIS REGARD?
Promote, encourage, protect and safeguard the interest of the industry and its members.
Provide a common platform to face the emerging challenges of tomorrow.
To be an authentic source of information and advice.
To advice from time to time on efficient & economical functioning.
To conduct seminars, exhibitions and publicity campaigns.
To act as a facilitator between the industry and the government to resolve industry issues.
To publish in-house magazine Thriller & Industry Trade Directory.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE PRESENT PICTURE OF INDUSTRY OF AMUSEMENT PARKS IN THE COUNTRY?
Every year industry is seeing 15-20 percent growth in the sector – be it expansion of existing parks or the setting up of new ones. The Industry has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17.5 percent with annual revenue of approx. INR 17 billion and estimated to grow to at least INR 40 billion by 2020.
DO YOU THINK INDIA HAS ENOUGH AMUSEMENT PARKS TO ENTERTAIN DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN TOURISTS’ ARRIVALS?
Amusement and Water Parks are spread across the geography of our country and attracts around 30 million visitors per annum. Visitors to these amusement parks are mostly local constituting around 80 percent and the other 20 percent is corporate and large groups. The percentage of international tourists visiting these parks is not substantial but could provide encouraging growth from this untapped potential.
India has potential to build amusement park which will cater to all segment of people based on the paying capacity. Currently we have enough parks which are location based operating in India but going forward future development is going to be in tier 2 and tier 3 cities since large land banks is needed to set up Amusement Park of international standard.
WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU GOVERNMENT CAN DO TO SUPPORT THIS MOTIVE OF PROMOTING AMUSEMENT PARKS IN OUR COUNTRY?
Globally amusement & theme park industry is very well supported by respective tourism boards and countries like USA, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and UAE attract huge international tourists. The sector contributes to their country’s foreign exchange and also generates business to other sectors like hospitality, travel, food & beverage & local handicrafts. Most importantly it also creates employment opportunities for its citizens.
As an apex industry body representing likes and dislikes of amusement, theme, water park and Family Entertainment Centre’s (FEC’s) industry in India, IAAPI through its constant interaction with Government both at central and state and giving insight of the amusement industry so that any policy initiative taken up by the government can be fruitful and can act as an enabler to improve the tourism sector in the country.
IAAPI’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO BOOST GROWTH OF AMUSEMENT SECTOR ARE:-
100 percent entertainment tax exemption for newly built Amusement Parks/ Theme Parks/ Water Parks/ Family Entertainment Centre’s (FEC’s) in line with the concession given to multiplexes.
Capital subsidy to be extended to existing parks upgrading their infrastructural facilities including investing in new and sophisticated rides and equipment as per zonal classification.
The Amusement Parks / Theme Parks / Water Parks and Family Entertainment Centres to be incorporated in all publicity material published by the State Tourism Department.
A List of Amusement Parks /Theme Parks / Water Parks and FEC’s to be hosted in the official website of the State Tourism Department.
Amusement Parks / Theme Parks/ Water Parks & FEC to be promoted by the Tourism Department when participating at national / international exhibitions and road shows
Entry tax exemption for the tourist vehicles entering the state.
Reduce Taxes:- entertainment tax is charged by respective state Government and now with the introduction of Service tax of 14 percent total tax burden of both the taxes to the tune of 35 – 40 percent is levied on entry ticket to the Amusement Park which is hampering the growth and effected footfalls to the parks.
AMUSEMENT PARKS IN INDIA ARE MORE THAN TWO DECADES OLD. WHAT NEW YOU THINK CAN BE DONE TO BRING A SPARK AGAIN TO THIS INDUSTRY?
Amusement industry is capital- intensive and requires continuous investment. Amusement Park operators need to regularly introduce new rides and attractions to retain and attract new visitors. The future will depend on the speed at which they innovate. Adding new concepts and resorts will help in increasing footfalls and create new interest in market.