Playing well in Europe, North America and now Asia
Kuala Lumpur’s famous Petronas Towers have been rebuilt, Lego brick by Lego brick, for the opening of Asia’s first Legoland theme park.
About 10,000 attended the opening of Legoland on September 15 in Johor State, southern Malaysia – the sixth theme park of its kind, following ones in Denmark, Britain, California, Florida and Germany.
A brass marching band from Lego’s hometown of Billund was there to entertain the crowd, who had gathered at the entrance several hours before the park’s opening.
Located in the Iskandar region, in close proximity to popular travel destination Singapore, Legoland Malaysia is situated on a 30.7-hectare site and features more than 40 rides, shows and attractions targeted at children under the age of 12.
Its 15,000 models, which include replicas of The Great Wall of China, India’s Taj Mahal and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, are built from an estimated 50 million Lego bricks.
Siegfried Boerst, the general manager of Legoland Malaysia, said the location was ideal because Asia is a growing market, compared with Europe, which is in the midst of the Eurozone crisis.
"We really believe in the Iskandar Malaysia region,” Boerst told The Sun Daily.
“It is becoming a major entertainment hub. Johor has a strong resident market and it is easy for millions of Asians from all over the world to reach here."
Legoland Malaysia cost 1.34 billion kroner to build and is operated by Merlin Entertainments, the group responsible for tourism brands like Madame Tussauds and the London Eye.
The company hopes its new attraction will target as many as 2 million visitors a year from markets across Asia, contributing significantly to Malaysia’s goal of boosting tourist arrivals from 25 million to 36 million a year by 2020.
Future plans include the opening of a water park next year and the establishment of a Legoland-themed hotel, which is set for completion by 2014, according to Merlin Entertainments.
John Jakobsen, the UK-based managing director of Legoland Parks, a unit of Merlin, told Bloomberg News that Legoland was part of a bigger plan to emulate lucrative tourist sites in the United States.
“This region will become Southeast Asia’s response to Orlando in America, offering a great experience of many themed attractions,” said Jakobsen.