Off the back of a decade of Harry Potter movies being shot in the UK, entertainment-related tourism has boomed in the past few years and developers of the £3.2B London Paramount Entertainment Resort project say they expect 15M visitors per year once it’s fully established. The project got a jolt in the arm today as Chinese group SinoFortone said it will make a £100M investment. The timing is strategic — Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a state visit to Britain this week, and this is likely one of many UK/China announcements to come in the next few days.
SinoFortone says it has access to “significant Chinese funding” to benefit the entertainment resort project which will include a theme park, events space and hotels on the banks of the Thames in North Kent. Partners in the project include Paramount, BBC Worldwide and Aardman Animation. Rides and attractions are expected to be based on the likes of Transformers (the last feature installment of which was made under a cooperation agreement with Chinese companies), Doctor Who and Wallace & Gromit.
This is one of the latest real estate plays by a Chinese company in London — AMC owner Wanda is building the One Nine Elms luxury development on the banks of the Thames. That inward investment to the UK is worth about £700M so this deal between London Resort Company Holdings and SinoFortone is a smaller chunk of change, but is being termed an “initial” sum.
Set to open in 2021, the resort has been deemed a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project” by the UK Government and is expected to create up to 27,000 jobs. Planning permission is pending.