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Exclusive Interview with Mr Siegfried Boerst

Dec 2012. For the 2nd In Conversation exclusive interview series, we have Mr Siegfried Boerst, General Manager of Legoland Malaysia, i.e. 1st Legoland theme park in Asia. As we are ushering in 2013, www.iskandar.asia's Team has prepared 12 questions interview for Mr Boerst to share his thoughts with us. Mr Boerst met up with www.iskandar.asia's Team recently and here are excerpts of the interview:

sb    legolandmalaysia

1) We would like our viewers to know Mr Boerst better. Let’s know more about his background and his current role in Iskandar Malaysia.

Siegfried joined Legoland Malaysia as Senior Director, Operations in October 2010, before assuming the role of General Manager in 2011. Legoland is very close to the hearts of the Boerst family because Siegfried’s daughter was born right at the time when he was working closely with his colleagues, as the pioneer team, to launch Legoland Deutschland in 2001. His family and daughter grew up with Legoland all around them, being deeply involved in the growth of the theme park themselves, as Siegfried assumed various responsibilities throughout his nine-year career. So entrenched was the Boerst family that Siegfried, who was the Operations Director at Legoland Deutschland, and his family jumped at the first chance to relocate to Malaysia to be part of yet another birth – that of the 1st Legoland in Asia, Legoland Malaysia.

2) Legoland Malaysia, Asia’s first Legoland Theme Park, officially opened on 15th September 2012. Could you share with us why Iskandar has been selected?

Merlin Entertainments believes this is the ideal location for the first LEGOLAND family theme park in Asia given its proximity to huge potential leisure markets in Malaysia and Singapore. The Group is delighted to be working in partnership with Themed Attractions and Resorts and Iskandar Investment Berhad.  LEGOLAND Malaysia is strategically located at the heart of the Iskandar region making it accessible to both local and Singapore residents and international visitors. The first LEGOLAND park in Asia is only 10 minutes from the Tuas Second Link and 45 minutes from Changi Airport.

3) Legoland Malaysia has proven to be a huge success as managed to attract 250,000 visitors since its opening on September 15 till end October. On average, the theme park welcomes more than 5,500 visitors daily.  The visitors comprised 55 per cent Malaysians and 45 per cent foreigners. Could you advise us on the breakdown of regions of foreign visitors?

LEGOLAND® Malaysia is expecting visitors from three main target groups:  the resident market in Johor and Singapore, domestic tourists from elsewhere in Malaysia and international tourists. As we are still newly opened, we are unable to disclose exact visitor numbers. The completion of the LEGOLAND Water Park and Hotel will create a full family theme park destination resort experience which will attract further international visitors.  

4) This is the first long schools holidays in Malaysia and Singapore which Legoland Malaysia is facing since its opening. Could you share with us theme parks’ preparation works in term of maximizing the experience of each visitor? What are the latest visitor figures in this school holidays and rainy season?   

For visitors making advance purchase 7 days prior to visit date, they will receive a 25% discount on tickets and the 1-Day tickets purchased in advance also guarantee entry into the Park especially on the days the Park is extremely full. Our priority is for visitors to have the best experience at the Park so if we feel the Park is too crowded we will limit entry for visitors to the Park by closing the sales window at the Park.

We also have lined up some Christmas activities in-park and recently, we launched the tallest LEGO Christmas tree in Asia.

We do not share visitor numbers but the response from our target group has been very good.

5) The Legoland Water Theme Park and the Legoland Hotel, both located adjacent to the Legoland Malaysia theme park, are slated to open next year and 2014 respectively. Could you give us more insights about these 2 new attractions?

The aim of both the attractions is to create a full family theme park destination resort. This will further enhance visitor experience and attract larger number of international tourist to Johor. We will update information on both properties starting next year as we are currently in planning and execution stage.

6) We wish more local elements can be reflected in the operations of the theme park especially in term of varieties of food & beverages offerings. If this can be incorporated, we reckon it will enable all visitors to enjoy and experience unique encounters in Legoland Malaysia. Is there any plan in place towards this direction?

All our F&B outlets have menu with the Asian consumer in mind. At Market restaurant for example, the menu incorporates local elements such as Chicken rice, noodle soup and much more.

7) Iskandar Malaysia is 6 this year! You have been with Legoland Malaysia since its inception. Could you share with us your experience in managing and marketing the theme park then and now? We noticed that the staffs are friendly, demonstrated with high level of service-oriented mindset and equipped with sufficient knowledge and comprehensive information. Perhaps, you could also share with us on the staff training programmes in Legoland Malaysia? Do update us on the measures taken to address safety and security issues as well as technical maintenance schedules for respective rides.

We place high priority in staff training to ensure visitor’s have the best experience when they visit the Park. We have several training programmes including bringing staffs from our Parks around the world to help train local staff on our service culture.

Safety is a priority for all LEGOLAND Parks and all our systems are in line with international standards. We use the latest safety features for all our rides. Our maintenance staffs are also highly trained to carry out inspections and in ensuring visitor safety.

8) More theme parks in the southern region to be ready in next few years, i.e. Ocean Splash Water Park and Ocean Quest Marine Park in Desaru Coast in 2015/2016, Austin Heights Water Theme Park in 2014, KidZania Singapore in 2015 and The Downtown East Leisure Park in Singapore is getting a SG$200 million upgrade over the next 5 years. Dubbed the region's future "Orlando of Southeast Asia", what makes Legoland Malaysia remain in the forefront in the competition in theme park and tourism industry?

LEGOLAND Malaysia is the only theme park specifically designed for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. With more than 40 rides, shows and attractions, the Park offers a unique and interactive hands-on experience. The Driving School, for example, offers children the chance to take control of a car and learn the rules of the road on a true-to-life traffic circuit.  At the same time, LEGO® fans of all ages can find out if their LEGO creations could really work at the Build and Test Centre.  At LEGO® Studios, a 4D movie adventure uses wind, smoke and water to take 3D into the next dimension.

9) In less than 30 words, how would you promote Iskandar Malaysia to visitors from all around the world?

Iskandar Malaysia is a catalyst for economic growth. With strategic location in the Southern State of Malaysia, it’s easily accessible from anywhere in the region. The various developments taking place will also ensure it becomes a place to work, live and play.

10) Where is your favourite hang-out place in Iskandar Malaysia and why?

LEGOLAND, of course. It’s a place for the whole family and a LEGO clubhouse for fans of all ages.

11) Which part of Iskandar Malaysia you’re staying?

East Ledang

12) We are reaching year end. Could you share with us your aspirations and resolutions for 2013 from Iskandar Malaysia and personal’s perspectives?

I’d like to see Iskandar Malaysia to be developed into a major tourist hub. The opening of our Water Park and LEGOLAND Hotel in 2013 and 2014 respectively will also help propel higher tourist arrival and raise this region’s profile.

On a personal level I’d like to find more time to spend with my family and enjoy the diversity of Malaysia with them.

For more details on Legoland Malaysia, here are the URLs:
http://www.legoland.com.my
https://www.facebook.com/LEGOLAND.my
http://www.iskandar.asia/gallery/showcase-gallery/the-colours-of-legoland-malaysia.html

Event Galleries on Legoland Malaysia:
Asia's Largest Lego Christmas Tree Lights Up at Legoland Malaysia
Grand Opening of Legoland Malaysia
Official Opening of Legoland Malaysia

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