Plans for a Paramount-branded theme park and holiday resort have been rumored in Bali for years. The vision to build the biggest theme park in South East Asia on the Island of the Gods has been much anticipated, but now questions are being raised as to whether the project will ever go ahead, despite recent visits for investors and project leaders.
Paramount Pictures and Indonesian-based technology, tourism, and entertainment company, Kios Ria Kreasi, signed an agreement to build the park from Los Angeles in late July. Despite the agreement and ambitious statements regarding the project, skeptics have suggested that the public shouldn’t hold their breath on seeing the theme park plans become a reality.
Paramount has a track record of dropping or shelving significant developments worldwide. Paramount Parks current theme parks include Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, Cedar Fair and Paramount’s King Island, but many of their international projects have never opened or even been constructed.
Speaking to media representatives at the agreement signing event, the managing director of Kios Ria Kreasi, Ade Sulistioputra, said, ‘Paramount is a global brand that captures the imagination of everyone from children to adults…We will tap into a library of over 1,000 films and use brands and characters that will appeal to people of all ages, while other attractions may draw on Nickelodeon’s characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.
The theme park has yet to be named but is set to feature two themed resort hotels, a golf course, and dozens of Paramount-themed rides and attractions. The prospective site for the park is set at the halfway point of the Mengwi-Gilimanuk toll road.
The project’s positioning is that the area receives less than one percent of international tourists annually. It is hoped that the theme park can help redistribute tourism revenue that is heavily concentrated in places like Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, and Sanur.
Speaking at the press event, the executive vice president of the Paramount themed entertainment department, Ty Granaroli, explained his beliefs that a theme park can be a force for good on the Island of the Gods.
He said, ‘A park like this can have a significant, long-term impact on tourism, including domestic and international visitors. His sentiments were echoed by the speaker of the Indonesian parliament, Bambang Soesatyo, who also attended the virtual event. Soesatyo said ‘It will also improve Bali ’s economy, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic’.
Since the signing in late July, questions have been being raised as to whether the project will really go ahead. In light of Indonesia’s latest amendments to the National Strategic Project list, where eight high-profile projects have been shelved, and Paramounts track record of signing and delaying or axing international projects worldwide.
In recent weeks, the Indonesian government removed the North Bali Airport from the National Strategic Project list and other major development projects across the country, including the Tiro Dam in Aceh.
Paramount has been operating theme parks across the USA since 1993, but international projects have been slow burners to say the least. In the early 2000s, Paramount signed a deal with one of the world’s largest casino companies, Mohegan Gaming, to build ‘Korea’s Las Vegas’ on Incheon Island.
Despite grand plans, press releases, and decent public support, the project has never gotten off the ground. The Korean theme park was set to boast 40 different rides and attractions and feature signature brands like Mission Impossible and Star Trek.
Bobby Soper, the international president of Mohegan Gaming, has said, “Currently there is no definitive schedule for construction and completion of the theme park…[we are] adjusting development plans’.
Paramount has also signed deals to create theme parks in Murcia, Spain, and Kent in the UK, though nothing has materialized. No date or timelines have been announced for the Bali-Paramount project though Speaker Bambang has suggested in passing that a soft opening in 2025 would be ideal.
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