New theme parks may be a sign of increasing affluence in Asia’s burgeoning middle class. Despite Hong Kong Disneyland’s relative lack of success, other ventures like Universal Studios Singapore and Tokyo Disneyland/Disney Sea are attracting millions of visitors from around the region. Disney is going ahead with plans to open another Asian park in Shanghai, and Denmark’s Legoland will open its first Asian location in Malaysia’s Johor state, near Singapore.

Asia’s middle class is growing exponentially and will soon become the world’s largest consumer group, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is currently 1.9 billion strong, triple its 1990 number. Much of this increase is happening in China and India, and Southeast Asia’s economies are benefiting through increased tourism and retail spending. A record 1.1 million tourists entered Singapore in July 2010 (Universal Studios itself has enjoyed over a million visitors in its six months since opening) with Malaysia and Indonesia among the top five places of origin.

article & source: AFP via Yahoo!