The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Lifestyle
UPDATED: September 19, 2011 NO. 38 SEPTEMBER 22, 2011
Visions of China
Britain to build Chinese themed attraction

A 100-million-pound Chinese theme park could be built in Britain to attract tourists from across Britain, Europe and even China, said a report published on August 9 by Sheffield Telegraph.

Visions of China, the planned theme park, would cover an area of 120 acres in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and feature distinct Chinese architecture including Chinese gardens, theaters, restaurants, a temple, a children's fantasy land, a Shanghai-style shopping street, a Shaolin pagoda, a hotel and a wellness center.

Rotherham Council's cabinet announced that it has selected the tourism organization, China Vision Co. Ltd., and regeneration specialist MCD Developments, for the development of the park.

Peter Moore, Chief Executive of Visions of China, said he is fascinated with the idea of a theme park for Chinese culture. "It will be beautiful buildings and superb facilities dropped into the middle of the natural environment. There is measurable demand for this type of project within Britain and the key thing is to create an experience visitors will love," Moore said.

Li Qihong, the manager of Visions of China and a well-known leader of the British Chinese community, was quite excited about the name of the park. "It is me who gave it the name of Visions of China," Li told People's Daily.

"We want to introduce the real Chinese culture to Britain and let the West better understand the essence of this ancient country. That is why we want to develop the project," said Li. "Not only a Chinese temple and street, but also a variety of Chinese folk culture and arts will be displayed in the park."

If the planning application is successful, Visions of China is expected to be complete in 18 to 24 months and would be the largest Chinese themed entertainment complex in Europe.

Boost for economy

Local citizens in Rotherham hope the Chinese theme park will bring investment and revive the local economy.

Rotherham relies on supplying the automobile industry with raw steel for economic growth, but uncertainty still looms large over the future of its steel industry following the financial crisis of 2008.

If approved, the theme park will be built on the Pit House west site, a former open cast coal mine between Rotherham and Sheffield, which has been owned by Rotherham Council since 2001.

The cultural theme park could attract up to 1.5 million visitors a year and create 200 jobs during the two-year construction period and 380 jobs once in operation, said Paul Woodcock, Rotherham Council's director of planning and regeneration.

The nearby town of Sheffield will also benefit from the project. James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said, "We invited submissions which could demonstrate a significant contribution to the LEP's objectives and priorities for the City Region and that, crucially, would contribute to economic growth and the creation of jobs and private sector investment."

Local concerns

However, the proposal has aroused some concerns. Some opponents argue that the theme park is located in a remote forest that is too far from the city to attract visitors in winter. Even if a large number of tourists come to the park in summer, the surrounding roads need to be improved to cope with the extra traffic.

Also, any big entertainment scheme would involve huge funds in purchasing land, relocating residents and building the scenery. The Chinese theme park would need at least 100 million pounds.

"What is crucial for the project is how to tell fascinating Chinese stories to attract tourists," said a scholar on entertainment management at Leeds Metropolitan University.

"Though Chinese culture is getting more attractive to British people, it is not easy to get the local people pay out of their pocket for a foreign culture at home," he said.

Despite the disagreements , Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone holds an optimistic view on the Chinese theme park. "This site has great potential and this proposal offers an exciting, unique and imaginative new attraction which meets our local regeneration aspirations,'' Stone said.

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved