ESCAPE Theme park in Penang is well-known among Malaysians for its unique rides and games hosted in a natural environment. It was also awarded the best attraction & theme park in Malaysia Tourism Awards for the years of 2014 to 2017 consecutively.
SIM Leisure group Ltd – the owner and operator of ESCAPE Theme parks had announced this week the signing of non-binding memorandum of understanding between with Sri Lankan listed Elpitiya Plantations PLC which will bring its ESCAPE brand to Sri Lanka. Elpitiya Plantations PLC is an associated company of Sri Lankan corporate giant Aitken Spence PLC.
As per the MOU, Elpitiya will sublease land for the project while the SIM Leisure group will develop and operate theme parks under the brand ESCAPE Sri Lanka. In order to develop the first world class theme park in Sri Lanka Elpitiya Plantations PLC has incorporated a special purpose company under the name of Venture Valley Private Limited. The construction of ESCAPE Sri Lanka is expected to start on March 2020 even though the preliminary approval to start the project has been granted.
The best part is that ESCAPE Sri Lanka theme park will be located half way between Galle and Colombo – two developed commercial cities and tourist hub of the country. With the guidelines of recently appointed president and the government tourism ministry is aiming to attract Four Million tourists in 2020. With the backdrop in 2019, the island nation had received 1.91 Million tourists and this amount is expected to be doubled this year.
Speaking on Sim Leisure’s expansion into Sri Lanka, Mr. Sim Choo Kheng, CEO of Sim Leisure said, “I see tremendous opportunity in the Sri Lankan market with its population of over 20 million. Sri Lanka is one of few countries which is un-spoilt and green. The country’s unpolluted coastline and beaches bring tourists from all over the world and its tourism industry is growing at an incredible pace. Furthermore, the cost of doing business in Sri Lanka is relatively low.
We will have the first-mover advantage of building the first world-class attraction in Sri Lanka. Unlike many parts of East Asia, Sri Lanka has tremendous untapped potential for family leisure and a highly-educated population hungry for success. We see this as a great opportunity to train the local population in our operations for future global expansion. We will be generating smiles per hour never seen before in Sri Lanka.”
Over the past 25 years, Sim Leisure has completed over 300 projects globally, including Bollywood and Motiongate (Dubai), Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi), Legoland (Denmark and Malaysia) and Universal Studios (Singapore).
In November 2019, the group officially opened the Guinness World Record’s longest inner tube water slide, which measures 1,111 metres. The ESCAPE theme parks welcomed approximately 112,000 visitors in 2017 and approximately 185,000 visitors in 2018.
With this project to start this year, development in Sri Lanka is expected to reach the top with recent highway expansion projects & the main port city project.