BANGKOK, Thailand. KidZania Journal. July 31, 2012. (English). –KidZania, the world’s fastest growing edutainment brand, is readying to open in Bangkok within December this year its largest site in Asia, and 3rd largest in the world, with an investment of over Bht 760 million.
To announce this, KidZania Bangkok hosted this morning an event for Thai media. A total of 68 reporters representing 14 newspapers, 17 magazines, 6 TV shows, 2 radio channels, and 8 websites attended the event.
Located on the fifth floor of Siam Paragon and covering floor space in excess of 10,000 square metres, KidZania Bangkok is a meticulously realistic, scaled down replica of a city with streets, buildings, utilities, and vehicles providing kids, aged 4-14 years, the opportunity to experience the jobs of adults.
The kid-sized city, now 85% complete, will be a landmark addition to Bangkok, helping to create a major new attraction for Bangkok as well as boost the capital’s appeal as a regional destination with a very sophisticated family edutainment product.
Mr. Xavier López Ancona, founder and worldwide CEO of KidZania, said, “Parents in Thailand and around the globe are looking for innovative and better ways to prepare and motivate their children. Kids learn by doing, and they learn even better if they are having fun at the same time. That’s what KidZania is about. We give kids a real world experience exploring a variety of careers. No matter what professions they choose to explore in KidZania, they learn important skills including; how a society functions, how to work as a team and how to follow directions while learning real life skills. Yet to kids, KidZania is all about having fun.”
KidZania has partnered with almost 400 real-world companies around the world to make the kids’ experiences authentic, educational and inspirational. Among the many careers that will be available to explore at KidZania Bangkok, there will be a real, 21-metre section of an Air Asia Boeing 737 fuselage and cockpit for aspiring pilots and aircrew.
In addition, there will be a working B-Quik auto repair shop where kids can learn and practice the basic skills of being an auto mechanic. There is also a functioning CIMB Thai bank where kids can cash cheques in KidZania’s national currency, open a bank account, get a working ATM card and role play as a teller.
While in Bangkok to inspect the progress and meet with partner organizations López noted, “Our emphasis is on giving kids an experience as true to the real world as possible, which is why we partner with real world organisations. Together, we create experiences based on actual careers authenticated by partner organisations. Airlines know about planes and pilots, auto maintenance centres know about auto maintenance, hospitals know about doctors and nurses, and cookie brands know about cookies. Each of our partners enrich the KidZania experience, making it realistic, immersive and rewarding for kids.”
“Allowing kids to immerse themselves in roles based in reality, rather than fantasy, brings out the best in them.” said Mr. Scott Schubert, Vice Chairman of Kids Edutainment Holdings (Thailand) Co., Ltd., and Governor of KidZania Thailand. “As they explore careers at KidZania, they face real-life situations that help in the development of their problem-solving skills. Through role-playing they learn to take on new challenges and overcome obstacles, building self-confidence in their ability to manage the world around them.”
KidZania facilities around the world are designed with input from child development experts and educators. A core educational component at KidZania is to teach financial literacy, by involving kids in a functioning economy that teaches the value of money and the importance of saving. Kids get paid KidZania’s national currency, called ‘KidZos’ for the jobs they perform. They can use the ‘KidZos’ they earn to buy food and beverages, to pay for driving lessons at a driving school and a license to drive kid-sized cars or they can be redeemed for merchandise in a kid-sized Siam Paragon Department Store. KidZos can also be used to pay tuition fees in a KidZania university, helping kids to earn a degree, which will then enable them to get higher paying jobs in KidZania. Kids are also encouraged to save their earnings in a bank, where they will receive interest in the form of additional KidZos that can be used on a future occasion.
“Ultimately, KidZania is about building a better world by preparing kids better for the world. The more people there are with better life skills, the better we can hope to make society,” said Mr. Schubert.
Within the first year of operation, close to one million children are expected to benefit from KidZania’s Bangkok facility. Special packages will be offered to enable broad access by kids from around Thailand as part of school field trips.
Later this afternoon, Industry Partners that are participating at KidZania Bangkok were invited to a private event where they were able to walk around the new Thai KidZania city and see by themselves the construction status of the center.
KidZania has 11 sites in nine countries, including Japan, Korea, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Mexico, and Portugal, with another five due to open by 2014, including in the United Kingdom and Russia.