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Every year, millions of people across the world are spun and looped in theme parks, tossed in water parks or calmed in nature parks. They are an antidote to the routines and stresses of modern life, serving up thrills to be savored, moments to be treasured.
The global market for amusement and theme parks is booming. Estimated at US$54.9 billion in 2022, it’s projected to reach US$82.4 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 5.2 percent each year, according to Research and Market’s ‘Amusement and Theme Parks Global Strategic Business Report’.
The record-breaking Sun World theme parks, water parks and nature parks sprinkled across Vietnam capitalize on the country’s beauty, offering something spectacular and a little quirky.
“We have some amazing locations in this beautiful country – from the mountains to the islands. This sceneries separates us from all other competitors in the market.”
At Sun World Da Ben Mountain in Tay Ninh, three cable cars take visitors to a giant Buddha statue at the top of the mountain. At Sun World Bana Hills in Da Nang, guests enter a magic world with castles, beautiful architecture and breathtaking panoramic views. At its center is Fantasy Park, inspired by Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
There are plans for more, including a theme park and water park in Hanoi, a mountaintop casino in Bana Hills and an indoor-outdoor ski resort.
“The industry is growing incredibly fast,” says Armand Doré, Director for Maintenance and Safety at Sun World, who aims to lure visitors from every corner of the globe.
“We have some amazing locations in this beautiful country – from the mountains to the islands. This scenery separates us from all other competitors in the market.”
From an operational perspective, the enticing locations pose a challenge when it comes to design, maintenance and safety.
Thankfully, safety is also where Sun World excels. While the industry accelerates to dizzying heights, Doré wants to ensure his company has its seat belt fastened tightly.
Vietnam’s laws regarding safety aren’t always sufficient, Doré explains, so Sun Word has created its own strict regulations through its international partnerships and regular, detailed monitoring protocols.
“We have our own internal regulations to ensure that our systems are safe,” he says. “Safety is our top priority, so we share our knowledge with others in the industry. Every month we have an internal safety meeting with all parks where we highlight and discuss any incidents. We also study industry best practices. We choose topics that are related for our parks, create presentations and discuss what we can learn from these experiences.”
Doré says current technology is also helping the company to automate its processes through maintenance management software and rope monitoring systems for its cable cars.
“If you have a lightning strike, normally we must check the entire rope by human eye, but now we can check the rope condition through our Truscan system,” Doré explains.
“This is amazing and much more efficient. In our park in Phú Quốc, we have an eight-kilometer-long cable car, which means 16 kilometers of rope to check. The Truscan system sends the data directly to the rope manufacturer for analysis.”
Sun World’s other big focus is attracting quality staff, which can sometimes pose a challenge for the company.
“Working with cable cars, rides and waterslides requires a specific skill set, so finding good, skilled engineers can be a problem. I can come up with the plans and ideas, but it’s the engineers that need to put things into practice,” he says.
But as with a mechanical fix, Doré has a solution: Sun World University.
“Safety is knowledge, so we share our knowledge with others in the business.”
“For the future we want to create our own education program with close cooperation of Vietnam’s technical universities. In this program, engineers will be trained for rides, cable cars or water parks specifically,” he says.
“At the moment, engineers receive in depth training and guidance of by our international experts. Momentarily, we are building an expert team to train local engineers and managers to become our future leaders so we will have one internal expert per park,” Doré says.
But Sun World simply can’t simply rely on its own team.
“It’s important we bring people to Vietnam, because it’s a beautiful destination with so much to offer.”
“In our business, especially in maintenance, manufacturer relationships are very important,” Doré says. “As long as we operate any of their equipment, we need them.”
The company relies heavily on rollercoaster manufacturer Vekoma, water slide designer ProSlide Technology, Ropeway manufacturer Doppelmayr and inspection company TUV.
Together, Sun World and its partners are bringing fun to a destination Dore says deserves to be better known.
“It’s important we bring people to Vietnam, because it’s a beautiful destination with so much to offer,” he believes.