Merlin Entertainments has entered into a partnership agreement with Global Zhongjun Cultural Tourism Development to build and operate a Legoland Resort in Sichuan Province in Western China.
Under the terms of the agreement, Global Zhongjun will fund the construction of Legoland Sichuan, as well as the required infrastructure and adjacent commercial developments, while Merlin will partner in the resort development and operate it under a management contract arrangement.
Scheduled to open by end 2023, Legoland Sichuan will be located within the Tianfu New Area in the city of Meishan, approximately 60km south of Chengdu city centre.
The resort will open with two fully-themed Legoland Hotels, with an estimated capacity of 500 rooms. It will also have scope to incorporate further attractions in the future.
Merlin Entertainments’ CEO Nick Varney said: “There’s no doubt that China represents a great opportunity for strong global brands. Having been active in China for over a decade, Merlin has gained critical insights into Chinese consumers and built a broad portfolio of midway attractions within key cities.” He added that the opening of Legoland Sichuan presents “a significant milestone in the expansion of the Legoland estate in China”.
Global Zhongjun is a joint venture between development companies Zhongjun Beijing and The Chengdu Global Century – Exhibition & Travel Group (ETG). The majority shareholder ETG focuses on investing in and operating exhibition centres, tourism resorts, branded hotels, urban commercial complexes, and healthcare facilities throughout China.
Upon completion, Legoland Sichuan Resort will be the world’s largest Legoland, pending planning approvals, said ETG in a statement.
Legoland Sichuan will be Merlin’s eleventh Legoland Park, following the announcement of Legoland New York, scheduled for a 2020 opening, and Legoland Korea, slated to open in 2022. There are ongoing discussions regarding opening more Legoland Resorts in China, said the company.