Dhimant Bakshi, the CEO and CMO of Imagicaa World Entertainment Ltd, discusses how their firm captivates visitors with excitement and non-stop entertainment in an exclusive interview. He also highlights the importance of the theme park business in increasing tourism in India.
Travel And Tour World: What unique experiences are being planned for the 10th-year anniversary celebration at Imagicaa World Entertainment?
Dhimant Bakshi: As we commemorate these 10 Magical Years of Fun & Happiness, Imagicaa is throwing a carnival celebration that is a reflection of this magical decade. Along with our world-class thrilling thematic rides and attractions; guests will get to experience a day packed full of excitement and non-stop entertainment when they visit.
Guests can look forward to the specially curated flea market replete with fun zone and activities such as Canvas and Origami Painting, Fluid Art, Pottery making, live music, karaoke and unique dance performances, caricature art, games, cotton candy and Turkish ice cream stall and a fire act apart from our signature, visually spectacular Grand Imagicaa Night Parade.
Travel And Tour World: What initiatives and strategies have Imagicaa World Entertainment implemented to attract new guests and expand its base?
Dhimant Bakshi: At Imagicaa, we refine and evolve our marketing and promotional activities strategy to cater to our target audience, thereby improving customer experience. Efforts have been put in adding newer attractions year-on-year, creating record–worthy moments through CSR initiative Share The Joy etc. Digital marketing has played a huge role in the way we communicate to masses and tap into newer markets. Mapping historic trends to apportioning our marketing spends also aids in reaching the right audience at the right time.
The social media engagement driven activities also helps us connect with our TG who are tech-savvy YANKs (Young Adult No Kids). Destination marketing fuelled by influencer marketing has helped Imagicaa as it builds desire for visit among the influencers followers. Celebrities like Rupali Ganguly, Atrangz team (Awez Darbar, Nagma Mirajkar etc.) Shweta Tiwari and more, all have had positive words to speak on their visit and stay which builds the brands credibility and desirability to visit as well. Social media frenzy has been scaled by the addition of quirky selfie-points.
Immersive in-park experiences like special fire act or topical event celebrations, innovative BTL activation participation, branding exercise in schools, positioning the destination good for fairy-tale weddings, MICE events etc. all of which have contributed towards garnering recall and visibility. As a step to attract newer customer base, we have recently even launched Aquamagicaa Water Park in the heart of Surat city, which has received positive response as well.
Travel And Tour World: How can Imagicaa World Entertainment or theme parks in general add value to drive tourism in India?
Dhimant Bakshi: Imagicaa is an Indian initiative to bring world class entertainment comprising of Indian Stories and Themes and International standard rides with high quality orientation.
Our mission really is to ensure that adventure seeking audiences visit Imagicaa at least once to this world class Theme Park and we are sure that it will bring a sense of Pride and happiness in what has been created. Currently Indians travel overseas to visit Theme Parks and with Imagicaa as a strong and a credible option we will have more people choosing what’s offered here as it comes at almost 1/4th the price of international parks with comparable standards.
This will not only help in reducing Foreign exchange outflow of Indian tourists but also encourage more participation from Indian Tourism options to improve standards and offer better guest experience to demanding and value conscious guests. Further, with Indian Themes, we do see many international tourists showing interests to visit Imagicaa especially with the attractions such as “The Wrath of the Gods’, Alibaba and Chalis Chorr and The Curse of Salimgarh.
Travel And Tour World : What is the current growth and potential of the theme park industry in India?
Dhimant Bakshi: The parks and rides themselves are often designed to recreate fictional environments drawn from stories, myths, and books. Since these are ultimately experiential, they are also a very important part of the hospitality industry. They can act as an “economic engine” for local communities along with generating demand for hotel stays, restaurants, etc. and job creation; incentivizing investment opportunities. Industry as a whole can therefore drive travel demand contributing positively to tourism revenue. As a major tourist destination, Imagicaa has helped create local jobs and can be attributed with socio-economic development of Khopoli and emergence of ancillary industries in the region.
Despite being in the nascent stage; India’s theme park and amusement park sector exhibits significant growth potential. A Future Market Insights report predicts that the theme park tourism market could reach $167 billion by 2032, growing at an annual rate of 13%. Theme parks and amusement parks attract young people in search of exciting experiences. This change in target demographic from children to young people is likely to support the growth of the industry during the forecast period.
Travel And Tour World : How has the business growth of Imagicaa World Entertainment been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? How does it compare to the pre-pandemic period?
Dhimant Bakshi: Pandemic was a challenge for all including the theme and amusement park category. Business sustenance was paramount whilst safeguarding employee and guest interest. Adequate measures were taken for guest engagement via digital initiatives like ‘Quarantivities’, fun social media contests, etc.; and on reopening stringent safety protocols were followed and communicated. Ensured employee livelihood was undisturbed through salary disbursements whilst balancing cash inflow.
Imagicaa ran staggered operations during unlock phases and resumed daily operations of both its parks with effect from March 2022 onwards with overall visitation matching Pre-COVID numbers triggered by the need and experience outdoors. With the on-going summer season; the positive traction continues. As stated previously, the addition of Aquamagicaa Water Park, Surat to the Imagicaa portfolio has been another feather in the cap and testament of the brand growing stronger year-on-year.