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Attractions Review 2017: September

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In a year of ups, downs, loops and scoops, Attractions Management looks back at some of the biggest stories to hit the headlines, giving possible indicators at what’s still to come in the year ahead.

The end of the third quarter showed no signs of slow down, as Real Madrid followed in the footsteps of Lionel Messi in June, announcing plans for an interactive football experience in China. Also during September, architect Thomas Heatherwick

realised his vision for a Cape Town grape silo, transforming it into an art museum. And the CEO of one of the UAE’s major theme parks revealed early plans for a global expansion.

Virtual Real-ity

Virtual and augmented reality will play a heavy role as part of a new Real Madrid interactive football experience centre in Zhuhai, China.

Business conglomerate the Lai Sun Group is behind the development – an integrated tourism and entertainment project called Novotown – which will, in its second phase, feature the world-first Real Madrid experience.

Utilising advanced technologies, visitors will experience a variety of Real Madrid-themed football attractions, including a personalised player profile to track visitors' progress as they move through the 12,000sq m (129,000sq ft) centre.

Culture in Cape Town

In mid-September, Heatherwick Studio’s latest creation, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) was unveiled on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.

The museum – the largest in the world dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora – is housed in 9,500sq m (102,000sq ft) of custom-designed space, carved out of the city’s monumental historic Grain Silo Complex structure.

The R500m (US$40.3m, €33.8m, £30m) Zeitz MOCAA project, announced in November 2013, gave life to the silo, once South Africa’s tallest building, which had been disused since 1990.

“The idea of turning a giant disused concrete grain silo made from 116 vertical tubes into a new kind of public space was weird and compelling from the beginning,” said architect Thomas Heatherwick.

“We were excited by the opportunity to unlock this formerly dead structure and transform it into somewhere for people to see and enjoy the most incredible artworks from the continent of Africa.”

Worldwide Adventure

The owners of IMG Worlds of Adventure – the world’s largest indoor theme park – revealed ambitious plans for the brand over the next five years, including an even bigger second park in Dubai and ideas to take the concept overseas.

In an exclusive interview with Attractions Management, Worlds of Adventure CEO Lennard Otto talked about the five-year plan for the park, which includes Worlds of Legends – a second gate opposite Worlds of Adventure about 30 per cent larger than the existing 1.5 million sq ft (139,350sq m) theme park.

IMG’s initial success has drawn the eye of a number of developers, according to Otto, who said there are plans to take the concept worldwide, with an eye toward possible locations in China and Russia.

“When we launched the park, our focus was on being the indoor experts. We invested a lot of time and effort from day one to grow the business internationally,” he said.

“We’ve seen so much demand since opening, not only within the MENA region, but also in the Far East and Central Asia, particularly China and Russia. We’ve seen demand from these countries and more and more developers are approaching us to come in as a partner or operator.”

Check back with Attractions Management tomorrow for the biggest news from October

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The end of the third quarter showed no signs of slow down, as Real Madrid followed in the footsteps of Lionel Messi in June, announcing plans for an interactive football experience in China. Also during September, architect Thomas Heatherwick realised his vision for a Cape Town grape silo, transforming it into an art museum. And the CEO of one of the UAE’s major theme parks revealed early plans for a global expansion.
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