Huis Ten Bosch Plans To Compete With Universal, Disney In Asia

Huis Ten Bosch plans to compete with Universal, Disney in Asia

Huis Ten Bosch Inc. has declared war on Disney resorts and Universal Studios in the realm of family fun in Asia.

The theme park operator plans to expand its business by opening a new pleasure park in the region, the president announced at a news conference in Tokyo on June 7.

"Our future rival will be Disney resorts and Universal Studios," vowed Hideo Sawada, who founded H.I.S. Co., a leading travel company that in 2010 took over the moribund HTB.

"We want to enter a market that can expect 10 million to 30 million visitors in Asia such as China. There have already been requests for our foray. We want to challenge and see how far we can go in a larger market," he added.

HTB is currently narrowing the candidate sites to house a theme park similar to the Huis Ten Bosch park it operates in Sasebo with European streetscapes.

The new one would open no earlier than in two to three years.

A plan to include a roller coaster and other facilities not installed in Sasebo is under consideration.

To open the new park, which will cost between 100 billion yen ($910 million) to 200 billion yen, HTB has been searching for business partners.

Under Sawada’s management, HTB reconstructed its business through holding of various events. However, since there is only limited room for growth in the theme park business, HTB has accelerated related business projects in other cities.

In its hotel business, HTB opened its second robot-service hotel in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, in March. The first is at the theme park. In three to five years, HTB plans to expand the number of hotels staffed by robots to about 100 in Japan and overseas.

It also announced that a giant pool similar to the one in Sasebo will be set up in Tokyo's Odaiba district this summer. A pool in Osaka, which opened in 2016, has so far attracted 150,000 visitors.

On June 24, HTB is scheduled to open a virtual reality facility in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward.