Dutch company to invest US$250m in theme, amusement parks

…projects to revolutionize tourism landscape – Tourism Minister

Dutch company Vekoma Rides and its Ghanaian partner, Xtreme Fun, will invest more than US$250 million in building amusement and theme parks across Ghana.

Preparatory works for the multi-million projects, which begins in August this year will change the country’s tourism landscape in the leisure, family and fun sector.

Tourism Minister, Mrs. Catherine Afeku at a breakfast meeting with the company and its local partner in Accra, explained that such investment interest came at the heels of the just ended Ghana Tourism Investment Forum.

“It’s a great delight to note that government’s call to promote and enhance tourism investments in the country is beginning to see some positive feedback,” Mrs. Afeku said.

The projects, she noted, would reduce the country’s unemployment figures tremendously by offering thousands of jobs to Ghanaians as the investors have expressed interest to establish 30 to 40 of such facilities across the country.

The facilities, according to the minister will catalyse the emergence of hotels and restaurants of international repute, retail shops, transport companies, security agencies, and several other employment creation avenues.

“With the background and due diligence we have done, we realized that Vekoma Rides and its local partner are a legitimate company and it is refreshing to note that they have their own source of funding the projects” she said.

What government would rapidly do, Mrs. Afeku noted, is to, in consultation with chiefs and landowners, make spaces available for such economic projects.

“Ideally, they are looking at the Greater Accra, Western and the Ashanti Regions for the start and later consider other areas. We have to provide and strengthen our infrastructural base including electricity, water and roads in those areas that would be affected by the projects,” Mrs. Afeku averred.

President of Xtreme Fun, Mr. Magnus Lincoln Quarshie, told Goldstreet Business that his company has already acquired a 300-acre land at Dawhenya for a theme park and some beachfront spaces in Accra, for smaller amusement parks.

“We began our research and feasibility works in 2003 and have been convinced that the idea of constructing theme and amusement parks would positively change Ghana’s tourism landscape,” he said.

He noted that the Xtreme Fun and Vekoma Rides have already signed an MoU with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTAC) for the projects which would begin after July, when the necessary permits are acquired from other authorized agencies.

“We are targeting three amusement parks and one huge theme park (Nature Park) at strategic locations in the country for the start and then expand them gradually in phases, while building new ones,” Mr. Quarshie said.

Vekoma Ride’s Global Executive Vice President, Mr. Peter van Bilsen, said his company have had an experience in building theme parks in China, Germany, Vietnam, Finland, USA and several other countries.

“We have built over 100 theme parks in China, Disney in the USA, and been involved in building more than 500 of such attractions globally,” he said

That achievement, van Bilsen said, would be replicated in Ghana when the two companies, under the auspices of MoTAC and the Ghana Tourism Authority, GTA, officially begin work.

“I am very much interested in Ghana’s cocoa and I want to partner the government to do something special with the cocoa museum, when it is completed. So we are not only bringing amusement and nature parks, but we are bringing businesses especially tourism related ones which would culminate into jobs” van Bilsen said.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe

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