Columbia Pictures’ Aquaverse theme park opens in Thailand

Columbia Pictures and local developer Amazon Falls have confirmed that their Aquaverse theme park will open on October 12, 2022 in Pattaya, Thailand. The development is Sony Group’s first theme and water park and was delayed by about a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Thai authorities already dismantling most of their pandemic-era measures and poised to remove COVID from the reportable diseases list soon (expected on October 1), several major entertainment projects are now opening in a hurry. Carnival Magic opened in Phuket earlier this week, while another, Bangkok World, is expected to open on November 25, 2022 alongside Siam Amazing Park on the outskirts of the Thai capital.

Aquaverse Park contains a mix of water features, land attractions, themed areas and restaurants, and live shows. Theme areas based on Sony Group films include Hotel Transylvania, Jumanji, Surf’s Up and Ghostbusters.

The first phase of development covers 56,000 m2 (5.6 hectares or 13.8 acres) in Bangsaray, near Pattaya. Liakat Dhanji, chief executive and chairman of Amazon Falls, told Thai media that Pattaya was chosen for its proximity to U-Tapao Airport, bullet trains and easy transportation.

However, the main access is almost certainly by road – Bangsaray is about a two-hour drive from central Bangkok – as the high-speed trains are not yet complete and U-Tapao Airport, while modern, has few local or international connections.

The park aims to play a role in the development of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor and give visitors a reason to stay longer in Pattaya. The city welcomed 20 million tourists in 2019 before the pandemic.
According to local media reports, the park operators are aiming for one million visitors per year. If the goals are met, they aim to develop a second phase, which could open in ten years.

For Sony, Aquaverse is a step in the direction of the location-based entertainment activities of Hollywood studio groups Disney and Universal. “Aquaverse Park is the next step in Sony Pictures’ broader global strategy to expand location-based entertainment by leveraging its world-renowned film and TV brands,” said Jeffrey Godsick, Executive VP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management and Head of Sony Pictures Entertainment location-based entertainment.

Paramount Pictures, meanwhile, recently announced plans to open one of the region’s largest theme parks on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. The 57-hectare park is expected to open in 2025.

The spate of park developments underscores the expected growth of the middle class in Southeast Asia and the return of tourists from mainland China. Columbia Pictures’ Aquaverse theme park opens in Thailand

Charles Jones

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