China's first indoor VR theme park has become a popular destination for tourists since it started operation on July 31 in the Hengqin New Area in the city of Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province.
Covering 22,000 square meters, the Lionsgate Entertainment World theme park offers about 30 interactive and immersive attractions to visitors, including a VR rollercoaster that instantly transports riders to ancient Egypt, and a world-first augmented reality motorbike experience themed around the Hollywood blockbuster "Twilight." It is touted as "the world's first movie-themed multi-sensory interactive center".
The opening of the new park has given a boost to Hengqin's push to become a prime tourist attraction in south China, just months after China's State Council approved a proposal to turn Hengqin New Area into an island of international tourism.
Hengqin is already home to a major existing theme park, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, which was the 10th most visited theme park in the world in 2018, attracting 10.83 million visits. Rather than viewing Chimelong as a competitor, Magill feels the two parks are complementary.
As part of the 5.45 billion-yuan (761.8 million U.S. dollars) first phase of Novotown, a major development focused on non-gaming tourism, Lionsgate Entertainment World is banking its future on increased tourism demand in the region and a thirst for new-age experiences from Chinese consumers.
Since its opening in late July, the park has welcomed thousands of visitors each day, but with the "Golden Week" of the National Day holiday approaching, the park's focus now is on fine-tuning various elements to meet the tastes of domestic travelers and take a slice of the 2 million-plus visitors that have visited Zhuhai each year during the holiday since 2016.
A total of 18 billion yuan is expected to be invested in the Novotown project which houses Lionsgate Entertainment World, with a total of five phases planned. Executives at Lai Sun expect the project to propel Hengqin to become the "Orlando of China."
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