Attractions industry news

02 Feb 2018

Eden Project signs deal for £150m Qingdao attraction

Sir Tim Smit’s Eden Project is making a giant leap to realising its first overseas attraction, following a trade meeting between the British and Chinese governments.

During the three-day trade mission to promote Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision for a “global Britain”, David Hardland, Eden Project chief executive signed an agreement with Zhao Lintao of China Jinmao Holdings, setting out terms for a future development in Qingdao.

Including the design, construction and operation of the planned £150m (US$213m, €170.8m) attraction, Eden Qingdao will follow the theme of water and will as its centrepiece feature the world’s largest indoor waterfall - roughly the same size as Niagara Falls at 50m (164ft) high.

“This is a huge development in the history of the Eden Project and the biggest step we have yet taken towards opening an Eden Project in China,” said Harland.

“We are very excited about the possibilities for this attraction and the city of Qingdao and are very pleased to be working with our friends and colleagues at China Jinmao Holdings.”

Following the China launch, there are plans for multiple Eden Project attractions worldwide, with locations in Australia and New Zealand already confirmed. Four other Chinese projects are also in the works. Grimshaw Architects, creators of the original Eden Project, are working on the design for each of these proposals.

In its first 16 years, the Eden Project attracted more than 19 million visitors and generated £1.7bn for the regional economy. In 2016/17, accounts showed a cash surplus from trading of more than £1.6m.

During 2016, four per cent more people than the previous year visited and, for the first time since 2011, Eden welcomed more than one million visitors in a 12-month period.

To cater for the growing demand, the attraction will soon add a 109-bedroom on-site hotel designed by architectural studio Tate Harmer.

The Qingdao project is expected to break ground this year, with an opening date set for 2020. Further overseas projects in the Middle East and Asia are expected to be announced later this year.

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