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World of Discoveries, Portugal

Concept development & business planning for exciting new attraction

Project Description

Leading Portuguese tour operator, Douroazul Lda., bought around 4,000m2 of old port wine warehouses in the centre of historic Porto. One part has been adapted to become their central headquarters and a Tourist Information Centre, whilst in the other half, a brand new visitor attraction has been built, which opened in May 2014, telling the story of the Portuguese discoveries of Africa, South East Asia and eventually the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Douroazul commissioned a team comprising Petersham Group and Haley Sharpe Design to plan the attraction, carry out a feasibility study and design the concept for the project. Working closely with Douroazul President, Mario Ferreira, a wholly unique idea was developed.

The Porto Discoveries attraction commences with a walk through area, themed as a series of representations of 15th Century Lisbon, where guests assemble their kit for the voyage ahead, investigate routes on reproductions of the maps of the time and take on a role play identity.

The attraction then utilises the pillared structure of the wine cellars, and includes a 10-minute long dark water ride taking guests in specially designed ‘galleons’ through a series of innovative scenes, each based on a geographical location key to the story of the Discoveries. A range of audio, lighting, projections, models, ‘peppers ghosts’ and other effects are used to tell the stories. Disembarking, guests exit via a large shop stocked full of specially commissioned merchandise, also accessible to passing trade, before returning to the Porto river front.

There is also a restaurant featuring cuisines from all the different areas of the world discovered by the Portuguese.

This project admirably demonstrates how Petersham Group works closely with design teams and clients to develop new and viable attraction concepts.

Project Details

  • Client Haley Sharpe Design Ltd
  • Date September 16, 2013
  • Tags Project Management / Attraction Development, Business Planning & Financial Modeling, Visitor Attractions
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