Penang theme park veteran mamed Top 50 in the world

Malaysian-owned international theme park and leisure specialist, Sim Leisure Group Ltd cemented its position as a formidable mover and shaker of the attractions industry. The company’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Dato’ Sim Choo Kheng was bestowed the coveted honour of being incorporated into the World’s Top 50 Theme Park Infuencers list by Blooloop, the world’s leading platform for visitor attraction professionals.

The Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencer list celebrates luminaries whose leadership, creativity, and innovation have shaped and improved the global attractions industry. Judged from reader-submitted nominations by a panel of industry experts with extensive experience working in the theme park industry, each name on this high-profile list is reflective of individuals who are driving innovation, and developing the technology and attractions to create the theme park experience of the future.

Under Dato’ Sim’s leadership, Sim Leisure Group Ltd has provided design, fabrication and construction to over 300 themed entertainment projects around the world. The homegrown attractions leader also continues to lead the way locally by injecting a breath of fresh air into the industry with numerous successes and the Group’s own proprietary ESCAPE brand of themed destinations, including ESCAPE Penang, which recently ranked #3 on TripAdvisor’s list of Top Amusement Parks & Waterparks in Asia.

Dato’ Sim’s prestigious and significant recognition by Blooloop is not only testament to his passion, drive and resilience in his 30 years of service in the industry, but is also history in the making as Dato’ Sim is the first and only Malaysian to be conferred this honour to date.

“I am truly humbled to be recognised among the upper echelon of industry titans. This, in part, is a testament to Sim Leisure Group as a whole. While others conform, we dare to be different, challenging conventions and pushing the boundaries of creativity. We’re about making the impossible, possible.

Today, I am proud to say we are one of the country’s leading attractions, changing the face of conventional theme parks, while playing a vital role in promoting tourism”, said Dato’ Sim.

“We were never one for resting on our laurels – and we never will. We will continue to evolve and grow with the times, delivering new experiences for our visitors every time they set foot through our doors”, added Dato’ Sim.

The award was presented by Charles Read, Managing Director and Publisher of Blooloop who flew down from the United Kingdom to present Dato’ Sim with the award.

From left: Philip Whittaker, CEO of Sim Leisure Group; Darrell Metzger, member of the board of directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) ; Charles Read, Managing Director of Blooloop Ltd.; Dato’ Sim Choo Kheng, Founder and Executive Chairman of Sim Leisure Group; Steve Peet, Founder of Peet Leisure

“The Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencer List was established as a way for our industry to recognise the energy, enthusiasm, creativity and passion of its leaders, as well as serve as inspiration for others across the industry. Our influencers are making waves in all corners of the industry and Dato’ Sim is an inspirational leader who continues to be a force for good with his drive and innovation”, said Charles.

In conjunction with the presentation ceremony, a media forum titled ‘Are we there yet? Malaysia’s Quest to Become Asia’s Attractions Capital’ was organised by Sim Leisure Group with the aim of taking a proactive lead in addressing pertinent issues facing the industry today and steering the conversation on how the industry as a collective can propel the Malaysian leisure and attractions industry forward.

Ultimately, the discussion aimed to realign Malaysia’s vision of becoming Southeast Asia’s theme park capital,  placing Malaysia once again on the world map as the cornerstone of attractions in the region.

Present alongside Charles to lend valuable insight was Darrel Metzger, former chairman and current member of the board of directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) – the leading industry non-profit, global association; Steve Peet, Director at Peet Leisure with over 38 years of experience in the themed attractions and leisure industry; Dato’ Sim Choo Kheng, and Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Sim Leisure Group Ltd.

Supporting Sim Leisure Group’s unique offering with ESCAPE, Charles noted that Malaysia’s theme park industry is headed in the right direction as there is a greater demand and desire from consumers to get out and have new social experiences, especially following the pandemic.

Agreeing with this, Dato’ Sim said that the pandemic has essentially changed the industry landscape where attraction operators who do not adapt to the changing environment will ultimately see their demise.

The forum also looked at other areas of themed attractions, especially how innovating with technology will put operators at the forefront of meeting the demands of consumers today. To this end, Sim Leisure Group has developed its own proprietary technology that has been implemented across all its attractions, including KidZania Kuala Lumpur, to simplify and create a seamless experience for guests, thus generating more “smiles per hour”. This technology has proven successful since implementation and the group is looking to export it internationally to better serve the global industry.

“At Sim Leisure Group we are ahead of the times in offering a harmonious experience through the implementation of Cool Melon – a 100% online ticketing system. Customers simply need to purchase their tickets online. After which they will be provided a link to upload a selfie that will allow them entry into the park through innovative facial recognition technology.

This eliminates the need for printing of e-tickets, tagging of bracelets and better yet, queues to get in! It’s easy, efficient and makes the experience that much more enjoyable. It is essentially a selfie with a purpose”, said Phil.

Meanwhile, participants also agreed that Malaysia lacked several key factors which are deemed vital to propel the industry forward, namely government support, as well as formal training and education to further boost talent within the leisure and themed attractions sector.

Industry titans addressing pertinent issues facing the leisure and themed attractions industry today and steering the conversation on how the industry as a collective can propel the Malaysian leisure and attractions industry forward. (From left: Philip Whittaker, Darrell Metzger, Dato’ Sim Choo Kheng, Charles Read, Steve Peet, and Peter de Kretser – forum moderator)

The forum also delved into the global and local leisure and attractions landscape, particularly in relation to safety standards, including weighing the option of benchmarking and setting international safety and quality standards to take the Malaysian attractions industry to the next level.

For more information about Sim Leisure Group, visit www.simleisuregroup.com.


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