BENGALURU: The amusement park industry may be still young in India, but people now have more spending power, according to Arun Chittilappilly, managing director of Wonderla Holidays.
This is the reason why Wonderla is looking to expand its operations in a big way. Work on an amusement park on Old Mahabalipuram Road near Chennai is set to begin during the next quarter, and the park is expected to be ready in about two-and-a-half years, says Chittilappilly.
The Chennai park will be bigger than the other parks, and is being constructed with an investment of Rs 350 crore, he adds.
Chittilappilly says there are plans to construct a space-themed virtual reality ride in the
Hyderabad park, which would see an investment of Rs 40 crore. That’s a big jump from 2006, when the most expensive ride cost Rs 4-5 crore. “The videos for the ride are shot in Hollywood, and no other park in India has anything similar. We want to have more such experiential rides.”
A new logo for Wonderla was launched last month, in keeping with the brand’s new philosophy, as it aims to be a pan-India presence. Chittilappilly reveals that after Chennai, there are plans to construct another park in the western part of the country.
Chittilappilly’s current role is a strategic and directorial one, and he has been very much involved with the firm right since the construction of the first park in Bengaluru in 2006. He was only 26 then. “I must have visited about a hundred theme parks across the world before that, including those in the US, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia.”
On the challenges involved, Chittilappilly says, “It’s still a nascent industry in India, and also high-risk and high-investment. Moreover, expansion is tough because the licensing and taxation laws are different in
every state. However, the advantage we have is the climate, with most cities having a generally hot climate.”