Skyline eyes Europe for luge expansion

Skyline Luge Sentosa in Singapore. Image: Supplied

Skyline Enterprises is in talks to develop two new international luge attractions – including its first in Europe.

The NZ-based tourism, property and accommodation group is in discussions with local authorities in Seoul, South Korea and Swansea, Wales regarding the facilities.

Although the proposed developments are still in the investigation stages, Skyline Enterprises Executive Chairman Mark Quickfall said it is hoped that Swansea will be Skyline’s first European destination.

The facility would comprise a gondola system, Luge tracks, chairlift, zipline and restaurant on Kilvey Hill.

The proposed Seoul development would be the third South Korean operation for Skyline Enterprises, which has seen its 12-month share price go from $19 earlier this year to more than $24 this week on the Unlisted exchange.

Its first facility – the $20m Skyline Luge Tongyeong – opened earlier this year and the company has already announced plans to establish Skyline Luge Busan, a $22m tourist attraction in South Korea’s second-largest city.

The company has previously signaled its intention to expand its international portfolio.

In its annual results in July, when it announced a 26% hike in pretax profits to $85.1m for the year to 31 March, the company said it was continuing to investigate “other potential offshore sites” following confirmation of the Busan opening.

In a respect of the new potential sites, Quickfall said: “We are always on the lookout for new opportunities and the local authorities and businesses in Swansea and Seoul have been very receptive to our ideas.”

“Our existing international Luge ventures have always exceeded our expectations and we’re pleased to be able to share this iconic Kiwi innovation with the rest of the world.”

Skyline Luge Tongyeong is believed to be the largest direct capital investment in South Korea by a New Zealand company.

Queenstown-based Quickfall was recently made an honorary citizen of Tongyeong in recognition of Skyline’s support and investment in the coastal city, which has a population of approximately 140,000.

The Tongyeong Luge has hosted a total of 1.51 million rides since it opened in February 2017. Quickfall says the ride is popular with the Korean market as it is adventurous without being too extreme.

“The fact that everyone can ride the Luge no matter what their age or thrill boundaries means we’re targeting every demographic,” he says. “There is no other activity like our Luge in Korea so we have a very large captive audience.”

Skyline Enterprises’ 12-year-old Skyline Luge Sentosa in Singapore has recently completed a significant $14m upgrade as part of the company’s expansion strategy.

Two new Luge tracks and a new Skyride four-seat chairlift were officially unveiled in a grand opening in October.

“Skyline Luge Sentosa is our first Luge in Southeast Asia and it now stands as one of the best-loved experiences in Singapore with 1.2 million people riding the Luge each year,” adds Quickfall.

“The new facilities are looking great and the boost in infrastructure has already cut down guest waiting times by a third.”

Here in NZ, Skyline is also continuing exploratory work into constructing 4km gondola at Franz Josef Glacier and plans to invest $100m upgrading its iconic Queenstown gondola facilities.

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