Mumbai: The latest addition to Adlabs Imagica array of entertainment offerings, including Chhota Bheem, is India’s first ‘official’ Bollywood Hall of Fame, christened House of Stars, which showcases interactive life-size figurines of actors amidst iconic movie scenes. The starry segment has been set up in association with India’s best production houses – Dharma Productions, Mukta Arts, Arka Media Works and Fox Star Studios.
House of Stars offers a wide range of fun things to do, besides exhibiting 3D figurines and miniatures of famed actors. With a space dedicated to elaborate sets, it offers guests the opportunity to become part of an entire movie scene.
There is a metamorphosis happening across the classical theme park industry the world over. It is not just rides the guests are focusing on. Today many formats are getting incorporated into one – be it water park, museum, experiential centre, multiplex, AR or VR.
It is now transmuting into a multi-entertainment destination. And Adlabs Imagica, the 130-acre theme park towering just off the Mumbai Pune Expressway in Khopoli is stirring up a ‘swadeshi’ movement in international theme parks arena.
“We are very Indian. We could have copied or imported something from Disney or Universal but we did not. While theme parks are growing at about 18-20 per cent globally, we have clocked an impressive 16 per cent,” says Ashutosh Kale, Joint CEO and Executive Director, Adlabs Imagica.
India’s biggest theme park posts 16 per cent growth. Imagica is planning to touch the 10,000-visitor mark in 2019 by scaling up its operation and reach
“It took us four years to develop Imagica and the ecosystem around it. Novotel Imagica has 270-plus rooms at present but we need more rooms to meet the soaring demand. Khopoli was never part of any itinerary. But now, old Khopoli hotels have been revamped to cater to the demand for accommodation around Imagica.”
Around 150 rooms and seven hotels are expected to come up in the park’s vicinity under the budget category in the next six months. “We have 1000 rooms between Lonavla and here, where we have many tie ups. We have a range of packages including park access and stay. We also offer home-Imagica-home cab service to guests. Our major customer segments are schools, corporates and families, which constitute the largest share.”
Currently, travel trade contributes 23 per cent of Imagica’s total business. “We reached out to B2B and OTA partners right from the advent of the park. Other parks have taken cue from us and got into that mode now.”
According to Ashutosh, net investment of most parks in India (amusement/entertainment/water) are below Rs.70 crore, and these parks are very local in their approach to customer catchment area. 35 per cent of Imagica’s footfalls are from outside Mumbai-Pune circuit. And 30 per cent is from Gujarat as Mumbai-Lonavla has always been part of the Gujarat itinerary. With this, the LoS (Length of Stay) has also shown considerable expansion. The park is planning to touch the 10,000-visitor mark in 2019.
On pricing, he said, “Instead of the Rs.300 crore (normal investment for a theme park), we invested Rs.1600 crore to create world-class experience. So it commands a premium. We have to operate in a price band to maintain the standards of infrastructure and amenities. Educating market and trade on the definition of a theme park which is very different from a water park or entertainment park or amusement park has always been a challenge especially in Tier II and III cities. Even today lot of people compare us with Essel World or Wonderla”.
The park has recorded a total footfall of 50 lakh till date, 1.5 million per year. “I can easily hit seven lakh footfalls more by opening up the park’s day traffic. A new initiative called High Street allows visitors to enjoy Imagica, eat and shop for just Rs. 399 redeemable on the various attractions, food and merchandise. High Street can be upgraded to experience the rides as well.
The park is also turning into a major events destination. Around 13,000 people visited the park last year for New Year’s eve jamboree. “We also had two minor events last year, which recorded an average footfall of 3000 each.” Weddings are another big proposition. Around eight weddings were hosted in 2017.