Madame Tussauds heads to Beijing

Last updated 10:12 28/02/2014
Madame Tussauds

WAX WORKS: Visitors pose for photographs next to Madame Tussauds' wax figures of Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in front of the Yellow Crane Tower during a promotional event in Wuhan, Hubei province.

Relevant offers


Malaysia Airlines to use A380 in transporting hajji to Mecca Travel quiz: Test your knowledge Smugshot: Readers' travel photos of the week Travel companies adapting to 'luxury' demands of young travellers Photographer Mike Kelley captures air traffic around the world in Airportraits Taranaki could benefit if new ferry plan gets to float Duck on a plane: Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt helps owner through panic of flying Plane ticket fraud: Police detain nearly 200 suspects at airports around globe The best seats on the plane: How to choose where to sit in economy class Three speeds floated for Whanganui-Motueka ferry

Madame Tussauds waxworks is coming to Beijing while Dubai will get a Legoland theme park under an international expansion drive by Britain's Merlin Entertainments.

Merlin, the world's second-biggest operator of visitor attractions behind Walt Disney, currently makes over 60 per cent of its revenue in Britain and continental Europe.

It wants to change that to a third for each of Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific over the longer term, by filling what it believes is a gap in the market in North America and tapping the growing middle-classes of emerging markets.

"The future will see us putting disproportionately more effort into Asia and North America because we see huge opportunity," Merlin Chief Executive Nick Varney said, pointing to global leisure spending growth of about 5 per cent a year.

"In North America the market for our type of product is pretty unexploited - nobody else has Legoland and nobody else does midway (smaller-scale) attractions," Varney said. "In Asia, there is a fast emerging middle class who have leisure time and money and want to spend it on location-based entertainment."

Merlin, with 100 attractions across four continents, added it was confident of more growth in 2014, but warned the strength of sterling "may result in an adverse translational impact" as earnings in local currencies are converted into British pounds.

The group will open six new attractions this year in Asia and the United States, including a Madame Tussauds next door to Beijing's Tiananmen Square and its first North American Dungeon in San Francisco.

Eight more sites will open in 2015, including a trio of attractions in Orlando in the United States, and the first of six "Shrek" attractions, following Monday's announcement that Merlin had tied-up with Dreamworks Animation's to launch six sites based on the movie franchise.

Merlin did not say how much it would invest in total in its expansion drive. A short stay attraction, such as Madame Tussauds or a Sea Life centre, costs between 5 and 8 million pounds to open, it said.

Varney told reporters the firm was considering moves into Latin America and India in the longer term, and that it hoped to buy the Singapore Flyer, a huge observation wheel, out of administration in the next two months.

New Legoland theme park sites are set for Dubai in 2016 and in South Korea and Japan in the following three years.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content