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Asia Dive News : Bangkok aquarium to be region's biggest

The $24m USD Siam Ocean World will open as planned in early November and is expected to be a major tourist draw at the Siam Paragon luxury shopping centre in central Bangkok.

Operated by Siam Ocean World Co, a subsidiary of Oceanis Australia Group, the world's biggest aquarium operator based in Melbourne, the venture hopes to attract 1.5 million visitors, 20% of them foreign tourists, in its first year of operation.

Kavipol Supatravanij, general manager for marketing and sales of Siam Ocean World, said he was undeterred by the prospect of consumers cutting spending, saying the world-class aquarium would be warmly welcomed as a place for tourism and recreation as well as education.

The company expects to break even within three years. In early stage, it has 50 million baht to spend on marketing.

Construction is 70% complete at the 10,000-square-metre site, equivalent to two football pitches, on the first and second floors of Siam Paragon, The space can accommodate 20,000 visitors per day.

It will display 30,000 marine creatures with 400 species including nurse sharks, elephant-nose sharks and penguins. Sea creatures will outnumber fresh-water ones.

The admission fee is expected to be less than the $15 USD charged at sites operated by Oceanis Australia in Australia and Busan, South Korea.

Oceanis Australia currently has four locations: in Melbourne and the Gold Coast in Australia, as well as Busan and Shanghai. Bangkok is the first city-centre site for Oceanis Australia, which has ventures planned in Dubai and Seoul.

Mr Kavipol said the company aimed to have Siam Ocean World put into tour packages marketed abroad, adding that India and China were promising markets.

Source: Bangkok Post