After many long years of development, as Universal Beijing Resort is now officially open towards the world. On Monday as the company’s largest theme park marked it’s first day of operation within the Tongzhou district of Beijing, China. The resort has suffered many delays due towards the COVID-19 pandemic and also with the U.S.-China relations in terms of tourism have been a rocky road, within the past couple of years.
Universal Beijing Resort will mark the company’s fifth theme park in the world (not to include Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe for number six), as Beijing will the direct rival of Disney’s Asia theme parks. Two on-resort hotels are included, Universal Studios Grand Hotel and NUO Hotel Resort Hotel.
Also a large entertainment, shopping and dining area for Universal CityWalk Beijing. The park’s lands are made up Universal’s biggest franchises that are featured from Jurassic World, Transformers, Minions, Kung Fu Panda, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and much more.
The grand opening ceremony was held on a rainy day with on-site performances featuring many Universal classic movie characters. Cai Qi, Secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, Hu Heping, China’s minister of culture and tourism, Chen Jining, mayor of Beijing, and Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Parks & Resorts and Tom Mehrmann, President and General Manager of the Beijing International Resort Co.
Local theme park fans were spotted wearing Wizarding robes from Harry Potter and holding wands in front of Hogwarts Castle, while other guests waited in long lines for a Minons themed popcorn buckets from the Despicable Me films. Some waited in line for the Kung Fu Panda: Journey to the Dragon Warrior attraction, that is aligned with Chinese culture and the mid-Autumn festival and runs three to seven days.
The resort has taken 20-years of planning, developing and construction proposed by the Beijing Tourism Group. Spilt ownership is 30% owned by Comcast’s Universal Parks & Resorts divison and 70% by state-owned Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment. The model is quite similar for Shanghai Disneyland with the split ownership between Disney and the Shanghai Shendi Group.
Universal Parks & Resorts announced the development of the resort in 2014 at an estimated cost of $3.3 billion. In 2017, Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts being reported by Attractions Management said the park could provide $1 billion of operating cash flow per year once open. It is estimated to earn more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) a year in revenue with up to 12 million visits for China’s tourism sector.
China and Hong Kong’s rapid economic development in terms of theme parks do play a big factor if you include Universal Beijing Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland.
“The grand opening of Universal Beijing Resort is an important moment for Universal Parks & Resorts. Universal Beijing Resort has been 20 years in the making and marks an important milestone for Universal Parks & Resorts, our partners and everyone associated with this project.”
“We are grateful for the guidance and commitment this project has received from all levels of government. As for me, I have personally looked forward to this day for over 20 years and to now see our dream fulfilled is a source of great pride and satisfaction to me and our entire team.”Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Parks & Resorts
Previously as the resort was undergoing public trial run operations from September 1st to September 19th. Theme park admission for pre-sale were distributed back on September 14th for a cap of 10,000 being sold out within three minutes according to Trip.com Group. As the park can sure hold more capacity but it looked like they were minimizing much they can due towards the pandemic.
Local-Beijjing visitors grabbed about 40% of the tickets for the first month while the cities of Tianjin and Shanghai were the second- and third-largest sources of patrons, according to travel website qunar.com. Guests did complain on social media for the ticket prices that range from 418 yuan ($64.76) in the low season versus the peak season is 748 yuan ($115.68).
According towards a Chinese travel and ticket site, Qunar.com is expected the average spending by tourists visiting the resort is set to be about 3,300 yuan ( $510.33) during the National Day holidays. For normal periods that are non-holidays is about 2,500 yuan ($386.61).
Their is plans for expansion for the resort but nothing has been confirmed for what those plans are. Originally Super Nintendo World was intended for Beijing as the plans over time were scrapped due towards how China handles Nintendo’s presence, in terms of being restrictive unlike how national and international markets are more fleixable.
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Source: Reuters Global Times China