Malaysia’s theme park industry severely hit by Covid-19 (theedgemarkets.com, 20th February 2020)
Malaysia’s theme parks and attractions are one of the worst-hit leisure segments as both domestic and foreign tourists shy away from crowded places for fear of contracting the deadly coronavirus.
According to Malaysian Association of Amusement Theme Park & Family Attractions (MAATFA) president, visitorship in January, post-Chinese New Year, dropped 38%, and that in the first 20 days of February, patronage tumbled by a staggering 80%.
Theme parks, amusement parks and attractions located in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Sabah, Sarawak and Melaka have been worse hit.
Whether indoor or outdoor, the parks have not been spared. As a result, all F&B and retail businesses are also suffering.
Some of Malaysia’s popular water parks include Sunway Lagoon, Lost World of Tambun, Legoland Water Park and Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast.
Listed companies with theme parks and attraction components include Sunway Bhd, Sentoria Group Bhd and l-Bhd.
Firefly expects muted business traffic demand due to Covid-19 (theedgemarkets.com, 17th February 2020)
FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, the turboprop arm of state-owned Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAG), expects demand from the corporate segment to be“slightly muted” this year due to the on-going novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
This will particularly affect the Singapore and domestic business routes, but overall the airline remains confident of a strong passenger growth in 2020.
Firefly currently fies from its main hub in Subang to Penang, Langkawi, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Johor Baru and Alor Setar. Its other routes include flights to Singapore from Subang, lpoh and Kuantan.
The turboprop operator also operates from its Penang hub, offering flights to Subang, Kota Baru, Kuantan and Langkawi, as well as regional routes including Thailand and Indonesia.
Will more theme parks shut down? (Focus Malaysia, 28th February 2020)
The theme park is among businesses that have taken a beating following the Covid-19 outbreak. As both domestic and foreign tourists shy away from crowded places, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of visitors to such parks. Even before the virus outbreak, theme parks especially those outside the Klang Valley were not getting the numbers to sustain operations.
Last month, the RM520 million Movie Animation Park Studios (Maps) in Ipoh closed down. It was opened to the public only in June 2017. The closure notice was issued by the Receiver and Manager of Animation Theme Park Sdn Bhd (ATP) from Messrs Ernst & Young.
Similarly, the Sanrio Hello Kitty Town theme park in Puteri Harbour building in Johor Bahru reportedly closed down on January 1, but this is unlikely to have a major impact on Johor’s tourist arrivals. Welcoming visitors since 2012, the theme park cost some RM1 10 million to build.
The Puteri Harbour building also houses a number of other attractions, including a Thomas Town indoor park, which closed down at the same time.
Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is operated by Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn Bhd (TAR&H)，a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd. TAR&H’s key portfolio comprises Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast, Legoland Malaysia, KidZania Kuala Lumpur & KidZania Singapore.
Based on the latest filing on the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), TAR&H has been in the red since its financial year ended December 31, 2014 (FY14) with a net loss of RM1.9 million. It continued to make losses in FY15 (RM37.72 million), FY16 (RM52.41 million), FY17 (RM32.51 million) and the recent FY18 (RM398. 64 million).
Other loss-making companies based on CCM filings include Sentoria Themeparks & Resort Sdn Bhd and Bukit Merah Resort Sdn Bhd.
Sentoria Themeparks & Resort operates Bukit Gambang Resort City – an integrated resort city sprawling across 294.2 hectares of secondary jungle in Gambang, Pahang. The company posted a net loss of RM7.06 million for FY14 ended September 30, FY15 (RM1 .24 million) and FY16 (RM1 .65 million). In FY17, the company returned to the black with a net profit of RM191,948. However, in FY18, it posted another net loss of RM3.51 million.
Nevertheless, Bukit Merah Resort Sdn Bhd which operates the Bukit Merah L aketown Resort in Taiping, Perak has been making losses over the last 13 years.
According to the latest available results filed on CCM, the theme park operator posted a net loss of RM10,398 for 2011 and RM62 ,407 for 2007.
Bukit Merah Laketown Resort is famous for its 10-foot “giant wet bubble”, the only one of its kind in the country and Southeast Asia.
Amongst the most popular theme parks that have been closed down is Desa Waterpark in Kuala Lumpur. It was closed on September 30, 2016 after 16 years of operation. Desa Water Park, operated by Berjaya Group, was popular in its early days, probably because the Klang Valley lacked water parks back then.
Another theme park which shut its operations is Wet World Adventure Park in Penang (2013-2014). This theme park was located at Moonlight Bay, Batu Ferringhi and was touted as one of Asia’s first seawater adventure parks. In less than a year of operation, the park closed rather abruptly. There were complaints that the public beach was not accessible and admission tickets were too expensive.
However, a handful of theme parks and attractions record good visitor growth such as Jungle Gym, Kidzania KL, Sunway Lagoon and Genting Themepark.
Visitorship in January, post-Chinese New Year, dropped 38%, and that in the first 20 days of February, patronage tumbled by a staggering 80%.
With the uncertainties presented by Covid-19, outbound travel will continue to be sluggish as domestic sentiment is equally concerned about safety and health issues. Nonetheless, industry players are hoping to see recovery in the second half of this year.