The theme park where you can be a world-beater

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2012, 12:00am


Hongkongers and tourists will soon have the chance to smash world records while enjoying a day out, as a US entertainment company looks to take advantage of a growing interest in record-breaking in Asia.

Ripley Entertainment is planning a US$15 million Guinness World Records Attraction in the city, based on the famous book and television series, which are growing in popularity, especially in China.

No site has been selected for the 2,000-square-metre development and Ripley is still looking for a local partner to operate the franchise, but the Florida-based company is hoping to open it within three years.

Ripley has previous experience in Hong Kong through its Ripley's Believe it or Not attraction, a collection of bizarre displays from around the world, which operated on The Peak from 1998 to 2005, when its franchise agreement expired.

Company president Jim Pattison expects the indoor park to feature 100 attractions, 40 of which will allow visitors to test themselves against Guinness World Record holders.

'It's something the family can go do together. It's achievable and fun,' Pattison said. He promised an 'affordable fee' for admission and said visits would last between an hour and an hour and a half.

Visitors will be challenged to try virtual reality recreations of a range of records, including pulling an aeroplane, milking a cow as fast as possible and throwing a baseball.

In an effort to tap into the popularity of social media, visitors will be able to instantly share their scores, along with the video of their record attempt, with friends online.

The company is keen to find a site that is already on the tourist trail.

'There's a difference between the best location and the best location that's available. We'd rather wait for the best location to become available so that we can have the most guests,' said John Corcoran, director of development for Guinness World Records Attraction.

Chinese record-breakers have risen through the ranks in recent years, and now only the United States and Japan hold more records, according to Guinness.

The Guinness World Records television programmes are shown on CCTV during the Lunar New Year holidays and attract up to 460 million viewers every year. It is also looking to Beijing as a possible venue for a records-based attraction.

Ripley's interests include more than 80 attractions in 10 countries, most of them in the US but also including Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and India.