SPAMUSEMENT Comes to Life!
After achieving 1 million views on YouTube in just three days in November 2016, the realisation of “Spamusement Park” was widely discussed on the internet. The mayor of Beppu City pledged to open an amusement park based on their abundant hot spring resources. The majority was definitely excited, but many were sceptical from practical, safety, and financial points of view. It was not going to be easy, but Mayor Nagano kept his promise. It came true for three days from 29th to 31st July.
Bringing SPAMUSEMENT into Life
It started with excellent media marketing to attract tourists of wider age groups by showing new, innovative ways of enjoying hot springs – please see our article on 3rd February 2017. The original film clip shows customers enjoying rides on a merry-go-round and on a jet-coaster filled with hot spring water, walking through a steam and a bubble filled path. It is the ultimate mix of relaxation, excitement, and amusement. Everyone looks happy. It is irresistible.
To make this vision come true, the mayor did not dip into the local tax source at all, but funded the project by Cloud funding, sponsorships, and donations through Hometown Tax (a Scheme by which taxpayers can divert their residential tax to another local government, often their hometown.). A total of 82 million yen was raised.
Entry was limited to those who contributed to the fund, but in three days 12,000 Onsen fans visited the park. The attraction was staffed mainly by local volunteers. Businesses rushed to give practical help, as well as to promote the event.
Practical Challenges To Achieve the Vision
Eight project attractions were set up in the then disused amusement park to recreate what appeared in the promotion film. There were some technical difficulties: the main attraction of the hot spring water filled jet coaster had to be replaced with a bubble fill, because water spilling onto the track caused a malfunction. Nobody was requested to take their underwear off – just carry bath towels around the amusement park.
These technical and practical changes did not diminish the magic of the event.
As an event hosted by a local government, it is a big success. It is also a big start for the vision to build a future based on an asset that already exists. Hot springs have been in Beppu for thousands of years, and it has always been famous for the abundance of this particular natural resource. Sometimes, sitting in a hot tub can appear to be something for the older generation. The people of Beppu City, led by the mayor, turned it around to start attracting a wider generational mix.
They are now planning the next project, which is keenly awaited and will be extremely exciting.
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