Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,201 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Shoal me the money

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 09:25 | by clare.durrant


South Africa Magazine talks life aquatic, fun, theme parks and how to increase footfalls and revenue with Shawn Thompson, the chief executive officer of uShaka Marine World.

In just a few years uShaka Marine World has become a fixture of Durban's Golden Mile, allowing visitors to not just view but also get among sea creatures. But there’s nothing fishy about this success story.

“uShaka Marine World has certainly positioned itself as a key attraction,” says Shawn Thompson, the chief executive officer of uShaka Marine World, which opened in 2004. The park comprises four sections: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet 'n Wild, uShaka Kids World, and uShaka Village Walk. These four components are adjacent to the uShaka beach, which is Durban’s number one rated swimming beach. It is hugely successful, attracting over 500,000 visitors during the festive season alone.

You might say Mr Thompson is having a whale of a time – revenues and visitor numbers are up and the future is looking bright.


“I think there are a few factors behind it,” he says. “Certainly our marketing strategy has played a part. We’ve become a more focused in terms of the market segments we’ve targeted and we’ve worked on ways of penetrating those. We tailor our campaigns to ensure we get the results we want and have had some very good recent successes - there’s been a lot of time and effort put into segmenting the market into various demographics - by race, age, income and then targeting those. We use various media to get people to come to Ushaka Marine World. We also have a huge digital presence - our website is visited by 45,000 new visitors every month and our Facebook page has over 35,000 followers.”


The introduction of new attractions has helped too. In the last year uShaka Marine World has introduced the Splish Splash Sprinkler Island, the New Seal Show, Anaconda Photo Shop, Dragons, Popup Tank, New Mascot Show and Animal Encounters.


“We’ve put in a significant investment with Ushaka Kids World and then just recently we introduced the Splish Splash Sprinkler Island for under 12 year olds - an interactive play area that’s proved very popular. Inside Kids World is the Duzi River Lounge. Adding this this coffee shop means that when mums and dads want a little bit of time out they can actually sit within Kids World and have a coffee or watch a bit of sport and let the kids run amuck outside! So I think that whole component has taken off very well.”


He says the Dangerous Creatures exhibit inside Village Walk has proved tremendously popular too. “Oh it has, very much so. And we keep adding new things to it. Just two months ago we brought in two Komodo dragons from Indonesia. They have been put in an enclosure directly outside the entrance so it really stops people in their tracks and that’s been quite exciting.


“We experiment all the time with temporary exhibits and we’re always looking at creating more fun. Over the holiday period we had The House of Fear, a spin-off on Halloween and our teenage and young adult market absolutely loved it.”


Fortunately for Durban’s residents and visitors alike there’s more to come. Thompson says it is uShaka Marine World’s business to lead the way when it comes to thrills.


“We have to keep surprising our guests to keep them coming back for more. We pride ourselves on going all out to add new elements to our offering, to create new attractions and re-invest in the park. So in addition to adding fascinating attractions such as animal encounters, shark dives, the Ocean Walker and Meet a Dolphin, we created our Dangerous Creatures exhibit which I’ve mentioned and installed Africa’s largest jungle gym at uShaka Kids World.


“And pretty soon we’ll be installing the scintillating body tornado water slide which will be the first of its kind in South Africa and an attraction that will put us on a par with the best in the world.” The Tornado slide will join uShaka’s Plunge Freefall Slide, Kamikaze ride and the Drop Zone - Africa’s highest water slide.


“This is at the heart of why uShaka Marine World is Durban’s major attraction, especially in the all-important youth market.” He says the aim of uShaka Marine World is to deliver an unmatched, fun experience to all its visitors. The park has been rated “the Coolest, Fun Destination” in KZN over the past five years by The Sunday Times Generation Next Survey.


“I think the park has now reached maturity in terms of phase 1,” Thompson says. “We’ve spent R50 million on upgrades over the last three years. Now, we have to look at a phase 2 and look at the next ten years. What’s exciting for me is the chance to look at a hard ride component - it could be a cable car, a giant Ferris wheel like the London Eye, an expansive zip line or a roller coaster. There are a couple of ideas I’ve been exploring over the last year in terms of going into our upcoming strategy session and talking about the next phase in the park’s life cycle.


“Theme parks work on what’s called a recapitalization model which means that periodically you have incremental investments and smaller things to keep it fresh and maintained and then every major phase you have a significant addition. Certainly in this next phase, the next ten-year cycle, we would look for a significant addition.


“One significant addition that’s under consideration is a crocodile enclosure including interacting with crocodiles and diving with them. That could be a very, very exciting addition from the Sea World side of things. “The people of Durban have a lot to look forward to!”


The success at uShaka Marine World shows no sign of clamming up and it really is one of South Africa’s best days out.


To learn more visit www.ushakamarineworld.co.za.



http://www.southafricamag.com/content/shoal-me-money
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,590 Posts
Good that Ushaka is not being complacent. Adding new attractions on an ongoing basis will keep it fresh. I'm thrilled they are thinking about adding a hard attraction like a roller coaster or giant ferris wheel. With Suncoast reneging on their deal to create a major theme park for Durbs on the beachfront, Ushaka should step up and fill part of that gap, space permitting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,590 Posts
Oh, when the DA continuously complains about uShaka in the face of real stats showing it's a major drawcard for the beachfront, they lose my respect. It's one of the city's best assets, in my opinion.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,201 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good that Ushaka is not being complacent. Adding new attractions on an ongoing basis will keep it fresh. I'm thrilled they are thinking about adding a hard attraction like a roller coaster or giant ferris wheel. With Suncoast reneging on their deal to create a major theme park for Durbs on the beachfront, Ushaka should step up and fill part of that gap, space permitting.
Suncoast have a R2.5 billion expansion plan that will be announced soon as part of their submission for an extension of their licence.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,361 Posts
I'm a bit confused...hasn't uShaka Marine World been bailed out by the eThekwini municipality a number of times, and seen over R3 million in irregular spending over the years (if I remember correctly)? Is spending more money on these upgrades going to result in droves of additional people coming through the doors and tens of millions in additional profits to prevent the need for bailouts?

These changes will of course be exciting and result in great bragging rights in terms of South African theme park attractions, but it would be interesting to see the numbers behind the logic or perhaps lack thereof (not to mention renders!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,590 Posts
Not specifically related to phase 2, but could impact on any future development...

-------------

Monday Oct 29, 2012

Fears over Durban's proposal for uShaka Marine World

Durban's finest tourism asset, the uShaka Marine World, would ultimately be destroyed by the city's "ill-informed and naive decision" to "in-source" the management contract.

This is according to hotel and hospitality boss Russell Stevens, who is also part of the consortium which presently has the management contract for uShaka.

While Logie Naidoo, the city Speaker and the former head of the economic development unit, defended the decision, saying it was part of an asset turnaround strategy, Stevens toldThe Mercury that in a short time the park would mirror the unkempt beachfront and many other city-run facilities.

Speaking in his personal capacity, Stevens said: "Of course we would like to keep the contract. But that is not why I am sticking my neck out.

"I say put the management contract out to tender again. If we win, we win. If we don't, we don't. But don't be naive and believe you can do it yourselves. If this is insourced it will become the only theme park in the world owned and run by a local authority.

"I have been in this game long enough to predict that this model just won't work."

Stevens's Three Cities Group is one of the partners in the joint venture with High Footprint Management (HFM), which secured the management contract 10 years ago. The other partners are an American company, which had experience in theme park management and a black empowerment consortium.

The Mercury reported last week that the city would not renew HFM's contract, which ends in March next year. It wants it to be managed by the Durban Marine Theme Park (DTMP), the legal entity owned by the city, which oversees the park and to which HFM reports.

The city's economic development committee believes the R9 million-a-year management fee earned by HFM is unacceptable because, it claims, the theme park runs at a loss.

Stevens said it did not run at a loss. The reason why it was in the red was because of the heavy depreciation of assets and servicing an unrealistic debt structure.

He said the 10-year contract had been concluded after intensive negotiations. "With the expertise of our American partners, we were able to assist with finishing it and putting in place proper management and systems," he said.

"From day one it made an operational profit... the only reason it has lost money is because of the ridiculous way in which it was originally funded."

While Naidoo agreed uShaka was in a "very sound financial position", the city wanted to review uShaka and the Moses Mabhida stadium. "We want to make them selfsustaining. Our intention now is to look at how we can have a turnaround strategy to reduce their reliance on ratepayers," he said.

But, said Stevens, theme parks were very complicated businesses to run. "We employ all the key staff and, while most will transfer to the DTMP and stay on in the short term, I don't believe the talent in this industry will work for government entities.

"As for the rest of the staff, the city may have to employ them in line with their own wage structures and cost of salaries could shoot up by between R25m and R30m a year."

Fedhasa's Warren Ozard said the Durban hospitality industry was "in shock" over the move.

"Shawn Thompson, current chief executive of uShaka, has done a fantastic job. Everybody keeps saying the council is throwing money in, but that's for the maintenance. The operation pays for itself," said Ozard.

The Mercury


Posted at 07:25AM Oct 29, 2012 by Editor in Durban


http://www.iolproperty.co.za/roller/news/entry/fears_over_durban_s_proposal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,590 Posts
uShaka eyes new climbing attraction
September 29 2014 at 06:00pm

By Bronwyn Fourie




uShaka Marine World would like to introduce a rope adventure course similar to this Ropeglider Adventure product offered by Swiss-based company Repapress AG. Pictures sourced from www.ropeglider.ch

Durban - A rope adventure course is on the cards for uShaka Marine World as one of the new attractions to the theme park.

Photographs of the planned course type, based on a Swiss design, show visitors attached to ropes, gliding along steel cables from platforms, and walking via stepping blocks suspended mid-air.

A report to the eThekwini Municipality executive committee on Friday said uShaka was 10 years old and needed to introduce fresh attractions.

Ushaka sought authority to enter into an 84-month contract with a service provider, but the matter was deferred after the committee queried whether the correct section of the Municipal Financial Management Act had been referred to by uShaka in the service contract and asked that clarity be sought from National Treasury.
Copy of nm ropeglider 1 (44875771) uShaka Marine World would like to introduce a rope adventure course similar to this Ropeglider Adventure product offered by Swiss-based company Repapress AG. SUPPLIED

The report, signed by uShaka chief financial officer Prakash van den Berg, said: “Based on our market research, 84 months would be the optimum period for us to derive the most benefit from this project. The service provider would be engaged via public tender.”

The annexure to the report contained photographs of courses from a Swiss company, Ropeglider Adventures, on which, the report said, uShaka’s attraction would be based.

Some of the courses appear similar to KwaZulu-Natal’s Karkloof Canopy Tours but via interconnected poles as opposed to trees.

The Mercury


http://www.iol.co.za/travel/south-a...ew-climbing-attraction-1.1757404#.VCnW9xbd1rs
 

·
Jungle
Joined
·
2,094 Posts
A waste.

Went to a recent show there, comparing it to the Sea World attraction at Surfers Paradise puts this tourist shopping complex in perspective. The main attraction seems to be walking around looking at buskers for free as opposed to the former acclaimed dolphin attraction.:eek:hno:
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top