Theme parks all over the world feature restaurants and a wide assortment of food options available, but why not have a theme park entirely dedicated to food? It’s not just a fantasy anymore – Fico Eataly World is coming soon to Bologna, Italy.
Eataly, along with other public-private partnerships in Italy, is developing a $55 million food theme park that’s aimed at helping spark the country’s economy. Described as the “Disneyland of food,” the 80,000+ square meter theme park will feature restaurants, grocery stores, food labs, and an aquarium, among other features, according to Wall Street Journal.
Set to open by November 1, 2015, Eataly’s CEO Oscar Farinetti says he hopes to attract as many as 10 million guests per year. “We want people from around the world to play with this magical thing, Italian food,” said Farinetti. As the fourth most-visited country in the world, it’s no surprise that tourists would travel in droves to celebrate the rich history and culture of Italian cuisine.
Prelios SGR, an Italian fund-management company, is financing the project and may invest in similar theme parks around the world, such as Asia. The company has already raised €85 million (approximately $116 million U.S.) from investors, including Eataly and local banks, and hopes to raise as much as €400 million (approximately $548 million U.S.), says Paolo Scordino, Prelios SGR's Chief Executive, according to Wall Street Journal.
“We want to enhance the value of every single square meter,” continued Scordino. “Each square meter will be linked to a business line and will directly or indirectly produce revenue, as happens in Disney’s parks.” Scordino predicts revenue would reach €86 million by 2019.
Sounds exciting! I can’t wait to see what Fico Eataly World has in store.