Globally theme parks are an important component in developing tourism demand. In some destinations theme parks can be the main reason why tourists consider to visit. Sunway Lagoon, LEGOLAND and Berjaya theme park in Malaysia, Universal Studio, Sentosa in Singapore, Ferrari World, Bollywood theme park in Dubai and Leisure World Sri Lanka are some of the popular destination for Maldivians specially during school holidays.
Is it important to have a theme park in the Maldives? If yes what is the best theme? Where can we find the investment? What are the supporting infrastructure requirements, capital investment, support services? These are some of the key questions to be answered before embarking on such venture.
When developing a theme park concept in the Maldives one theme can be an “Underwater Theme Park”. Maldives is a nation rich in marine bio-diversity and the tourism is developed around sun, sand, beach and sea. An “Underwater Theme Park” will be a perfect tourism attraction if park includes accommodation, hotels and other services so that tourists can stay overnight during their travels. Other facilities necessary for tourism development include tour and travel operations, restaurants, retail outlets, souvenir shops, financial facilities and services, tourist information offices, public safety facilities and services of police and fire protection. underwater museum, sea sports and other gaming opportunities will be seen as value additions.
While theme park operations can bring many positive outcomes it can create problems to the local community, cultural patterns and most importantly to the environment. A great deal of thought and effort should be given to reduce the impact on the environment and natural resources. Easy access to airport and the capital city, transportation facilities, access to energy and power sources, health and safety measures are some other concerns for theme park developers.
Since Maldives is positioned as an upmarket travel destination and more than one million tourists visiting each year this venture can be highly profitable as well. With sufficient marketing, hosting international events, unique architecture, innovative ideas and concepts, Maldives can be the next most wanted travel destination.