Move over Disney, Mexico plans Mayan theme park

เผยแพร่:   โดย: MGR Online

Visitors board a tram to get to Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom from the parking lot in Orlando, Florida, on September 12, 2017 two days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida. The resort reopened its doors Tuesday, welcoming locals and tourists who remain without power and air conditioning after Irma battered Florida. We are here because we are without power in Melbourne, Florida, and so we decided if were going to bake, we might as well do it at Disney, Veann Grigajtis, who travelled to Orlando with her family, told AFP. Nicolas Kamm/AFP

September 19, 2017
MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced plans Monday for an $840 million Mayan theme park on the Caribbean coast to rival the major theme parks in the United States.

The park, dubbed Amikoo -- or "friend" in the Mayan language -- will have rides and characters based on Mayan mythology and be built in two phases in the so-called Riviera Maya, a stretch of pristine beaches on Mexico's southeastern coast.

"We're going to compete with other (parks) up there (in the United States), and I'm sure ours will be better," Pena Nieto said at a ceremony also attended by the Mexican investors behind the project.

Pena Nieto said the park would bolster Mexico's place as a "high-quality tourism destination."

Mexico became the eighth most-visited country in the world last year, according to the World Tourism Organization, with 35 million international arrivals who spent some $19.6 billion.

The vital sector represents some 8.7 percent of the Mexican economy.

The move to challenge US theme parks such as Disneyland and Disney World comes at a time of tense relations between Mexico and the United States.

The two neighbors' ties have frayed since US President Donald Trump was elected on vows to make Mexico pay for a wall on the border and a campaign laced with anti-Mexican rhetoric.

The new 120-hectare (300-acre) park will have attractions such as a flight simulator that lets visitors fly over popular Mexican tourist attractions, a mock submarine and a pirate ride.

It will also have a 320-room hotel, a Mayan archeology and anthropology museum, and dedicate 75 percent of its property to environmental conservation.

The first phase is set to open in November 2018 and the second two years later.

Investors say they expect four million to 4.5 million visitors per year.