In late May, Suzhou Amusement Land Forest World opened for a trial period. The Forest World covers an area of approximately 397,900 sq. mt. The site’s building area is approximately 621,000 square metres.

The theme park is based on three forest elements – trees, animals, and habitat. There are six major zones in the theme park, each with different feature planting and rides and attractions. As well as a theme park, the amusement site is home to a themed hotel and a themed commercial area.

The project takes full advantages of the topographical conditions of the vicinity. Suzhou Amusement Land Forest World is expected to form a new landmark in ecological tourism industry in China and become one of the leading theme parks in the Yangtze River Delta region.



An extensive upgrade is to be made on Zhangjiakou Guyuan Kulun Swan Lake. With an investment of 220 million yuan (approx. US$30.72 million), the upgrade will involve the addition of two new ski cableways, a ski hall covering 3,000 sq. mt., a Marco Polo Castle, cableways, ziplines, rollercoasters and other attractions.

It is estimated that the year-round destination will achieve annual revenue of 80 million yuan (approx. US$11.17) and provide more than 900 jobs in the local community. The site is also expected to play a key role in driving enthusiasm towards the Winter Olympics 2022, take place in the Hebei Province, China in 2022.



It has been confirmed that the Guilin Sunac Cultural and Tourism City is to open in June 2021. The new Cultural and Tourism city is a key project of Guangxi’s wellness and cultural tourism industry.

Much of the city has already been built and the remaining facilities are being accelerated in time for an opening date of June 26, 2021.

As one of the key projects in Guangxi’s wellness and cultural tourism industry, the main body of the hotel group in Guilin Sunac Cultural Tourism City has been finished, and all other supporting facilities are being accelerated and will be opened on June 26, 2021.

The vast new cultural and tourism city has an investment of 16 billion yuan (approx. US$2.24 billion). The site features hotels, an outdoor theme park, indoor marine park, waterpark, tourism town, and much more. The city will be the most ambitious and expensive cultural tourism project in Guangxi.

Once opened, the site is expected to attract around 10 million visitors each year.



Legoland Florida Resort is to officially reopen on June 1. The resort is implementing a raft of enhanced health and safety measures, including reduced capacity, cashless payments, social distancing practices and enhanced cleaning regimes.

The health and safety measures comply with government advice and the requirements of health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rex Jackson, general manager at Legoland Florida Resort, commented on the site’s imminent reopening:  “As part of Merlin Entertainments, our leaders across the globe have been sharing best practices daily, and we’ve been able to apply what we’ve learned from other successful Merlin attraction reopenings to be confident with our Resort’s reopening plan. In addition, we have also sought guidance from our partners at AdventHealth.

“We’re ready to play, and we look forward to reopening Legoland Florida Resort as a safe and memorable place for families to play again,” Jackson continued.

Prior to visiting Legoland Florida, guests are encouraged to download the Legoland mobile app, and review the website to become acquainted with the parks’ new arrival and attractions procedures. Cash is no longer accepted at the resort and guests should be prepared to make payments by debit or credit card.



IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, is to host the first-ever IAAPA virtual expo. The Virtual Expo: Asia event will take place live daily from July 28 until 30, enabling attendees to connect, network, and buy from virtual locations.

The immersive, three-day experience will feature innovative and unchartered ways for professionals from the attractions industry to connect digitally. The event will include a virtual trade show floor, education sessions, networking areas and lounges, and on-demand content.

June Ko, executive director and vice president, IAAPA Asia Pacific Operations, shared her excitement about the forthcoming virtual expo. “We are excited to introduce our first IAAPA Virtual Expo to the Asia Pacific market to meet the needs of our members during this time.

“IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia is a new, innovative way for IAAPA to provide a unique experience for global attractions industry professionals to learn, buy, and connect. And while this event is unlike any other IAAPA has hosted before, it will still deliver high-quality, engaging, and important content and opportunities that IAAPA is known for,” Ko added.

Registration for IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia is now open. Registration is free for IAAPA members and includes full access to the virtual trade show floor and on-demand education conference. Exhibition space is now available to reserve. Interested parties can find out more on the IAAPA website.



Two theme parks in Germany are reopening, starting the new season on May 29. Movie Park Germany and Erlebnispark Tripsdrill will both reopen on the same date with stringent hygiene and safety precautions in place.

To ensure a safe environment for staff and guests, Movie Park Germany, the largest movie and amusement park in Germany, has been intensely preparing for reopening with authorities and has taken the appropriate health and safety measures.

These measures include the obligatory wearing of a protective mask covering the mouth and nose in all roofed areas, the entrance to the park, and indoor and outdoor waiting areas.

Social distance markers will be placed appropriately around the park, as well as additional information signs about hygiene and safety. Contact technology is also offered at the park and all employees have been sensitised to COVID-19, having received training about a safe reopening of the park.

Thorsten Backhaus, Movie Park Germany’s managing director, said: “The health and safety of our guests and employees continues to have top priority. Therefore, it is our greatest endeavor to prepare the park opening with the utmost care. We are now pleased to announce an opening date for the season: 29 May 2020.”

Erlebnispark Tripsdrill wildlife and theme park near Cleebronn in southern Germany is also reopening on May 29 with the necessary health and safety measures in place. Overnight stays at the Nature Resort were made available from May 18. To avoid waiting times at the entrance, the park recommends that tickets are purchased online.



Alterface, manufacturers of interactive and media-based attractions around the world, has appointed a new vision and management team. The team will develop and install detection and shooting system, gameplay and design, as well as being responsible for show control and ride management.

The new vision and management team comprises of Gillian Basso, Stéphane Battaille, François Danhaive, Laurence Beckers, Olivier Noel and Etienne Sainton. These highly creative and experienced individuals in the industry join Alterface at challenging times but are positive about the opportunities ahead.

Stéphane Battaille took over as Alterface CEO. Battaille will be supported by Etienne Sainton for product management, Laurence Beckers as creative director, CIO Gillian Basso, François Danhaive for program management and Olivier Noel as CFO.

Before his appointment to CEO earlier this year, Stéphane Battaille was Alterface’s COO and a shareholder of the company. Battaille conceived and delivered the very first mixed-media interactive ride for all LEGO Discovery Centres, as well as Maus au Chocolat at Phantasialand in Germany.

Creative Director Laurence Beckershas has more than 18 years’ experience in creative industries, working at the intersection of art, science and technology.

Last summer Gillian Basso was appointed as Alterface’s CIO. “I want to ensure Alterface stays at the forefront of interactive technology so we can offer the most innovative user-centric attractions, immersing visitors in a world of magic and fun,” said Basso.

Etienne Sainton, who is supervising Alterface’s product management division, has worked as a software engineer at Alterface for many years and is a self-confessed theme park enthusiast. Sainton was involved in developing the erratic and simulation technology for Popcorn Revenge, as well as the Justice League interactivity in all US Six Flags parks.

With a new vision and management team, Alterface aim to make interactive attractions more accessible to theme parks. As Stéphane Battaille concludes: “The recognition of Alterface rides the past years with high- level awards, has led to an increased interest in interactive attractions. We now want to make this more accessible to parks and manufacturers by offering them interactive technology building blocks. This will help the industry and our customers to address future challenges and keep entertaining families with new immersive experiences. We invite everyone to come and talk to us about ideas to develop exciting attractions together.”



Sally Dark Rides, manufacturer of destination-quality dark rides and attractions for theme parks around the world, is mourning the passing of long-time employee and friend, Jan Sherman. Jan passed away due to complications with diabetes and cancer.

Jan joined Sally Dark Rides in 1982. She was employed to create soundtracks and scripts for animated productions. Amongst her earliest production were Billy Jo and the Bluegrass Bears, Daniel and the Dixie Diggers, Bubba Bear and the Badlands Band, Merlin and the Magic Music Makers, Ursula and the Om Pah Pahs, Mr. Beaks and the Tropical Tweeters, and the White Tiger Show for Chimelong.

Reminiscing about Jan and her work, Sally Dark Rides’ CEO John Wood commented: “She was quite the stickler, always striving for perfection—this made her an invaluable member of our team.”

When the company moved towards the production of dark rides, Jan thrived under the challenge, meeting it with enthusiasm and diligence. She headed up the installation of Alton Tower’s first dark ride refurbishment and launched Sally Dark Ride’s new focus of building and reviving dark rides across the globe.

Jan Sherman stayed working at Sally Dark Rides, headquartered in Jacksonville, until her retirement in 2014. Amongst her colleagues, Jan was best known for her love of the theatre, animals, and grammatical precision, as well as her creative flair and professionalism.

“We’re grateful to have had the force that was Jan Sherman for all those years,” John Wood added. “She will be missed.”



The East Sea Dragon Palace Water World located in Bohu county of the Xinjiang province, China, is due to open in June. This unique attraction site is the first waterpark to be themed on the legendary Chinese novel from the 16th century, ‘Journey to the West.’

The waterpark had an investment of 210m yuan (approx. US$29.52m), invested by Bohu county. East Sea Dragon Palace Water World stretches over 120,000 sq. mt. and features 12 themed water attractions.

Each landscape in the waterpark is centred on classic characters or scenes from Journey to the West. The entrance gate to the park in shaped like the Wuzhi Mountain, the wave pool is inspired by a Flaming Mountain concept, and the sculptures are designed to resemble ‘Uproar in Heaven’.



Polin Waterparks, innovators in waterslide technology integration, has launched next level image recognition technology for waterparks, known as the AIPIX.

AIPIX makes it easier than ever before for visitors to waterparks and amusement sites with water attractions to capture their fun memories.

Dubbed as next-level image recognition technology, AIPIX is a highly innovative face recognition system. Featuring specially developed artificial intelligence architecture, AIPIX is able to detect an individual even if the face is partially covered, their eyes are closed, or the guest is screaming.

By placing AIPIX cameras in strategic places around a waterpark, sites can capture these special memories in real-time. The action can be captured in live videos as well as stills from the best angles for optimum memory capturing.

Visitors can share their experiences instantly on social media with the AIPIX system. With instant uploads to the visitors’ phones, guests don’t have to waste time queuing for experience snaps and therefore get to spend more time in the waterpark.

The AIPIX system provides park operators with data insights and analytics based on age, gender, location, times, and relations.

AIPIX is compatible with all smartphones and can be used hands-free.