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October 02, 2007

The business of amusement parks

Business Today has an article on the (tough) business of running amusement parks.
The amusement parks business ain't fun-or at least, that's the India story of amusement parks for you. It's a roller coaster ride for most like Kishkinta in Chennai, which has not yet broken even after 12 years in business. Those who have managed to make a success story out of such ventures, like Nicco Park in Kolkata, have no magic formula to offer-except that they have successfully managed to tweak their business model to make it work for them. Then there are newer players like Adventure Island in Delhi, and Wonder La in Bangalore, who might just redefine the business of fun parks in India with signature rides that measure up to global standards.

Sample some hits 'n' misses. Half-a-dozen amusement parks sprang up across Bangalore over the last five years and at least two of them have gone out of business, including Crazy Water Amusement Park set up back in 1994 and more recently Sammy's Dreamland, which was shuttered after a child was killed in a mishap on the site a few years ago. The Jalavihar water project in Hyderabad, planned for launch in 2000, finally opened in May this year after almost not making it.

...For Nicco Parks and Resorts (NPRL), the business model has changed more than once over the years and is still evolving. When eastern India's first Theme Amusement Park was thrown open in October 1991, the scope for family outdoor activities in Kolkata was limited to watching movies and cricket matches. So it was an instant hit. But now, it's a different story altogether. Now the revenue model doesn't only rest on pricing (entry fee and fees for various rides) but on various other factors like sponsorship, co-branding activities, schemes and carrying out projects for other entrepreneurs on a turnkey basis.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.