AJ Hackett expanding overseas

By Tracey Roxburgh

In May, AJ Hackett is due to open a US$12 million ($12.04m) development on Singapore's Sentosa Island.
In May, AJ Hackett is due to open a US$12 million ($12.04m) development on Singapore's Sentosa Island.

The size of AJ Hackett International will double within the next three years as the company looks to forge new territory overseas and diversify some of its operations.

Mr Hackett, a co-founder of bungy, introducing commercial jumps almost 28 years ago, is now spearheading projects in Singapore, China and Russia.

"There's a lot happening in the next 18 months,'' he said.

In May, AJ Hackett is due to open a US$12 million ($12.04m) development on Singapore's Sentosa Island comprising a 47m jump, two giant swings, a vertical skywalk, a sky bridge "vertigo experience'', a restaurant and bar.

The company spent more than four years working with authorities to enable the attraction to open, which included initiating a law change to make bungy safer, Mr Hackett said.

"We don't give up easily.

"If we believe in something, we will do everything it takes to realise that dream.''

Late next year the company will open the world's highest bungy jump in China, underneath the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, which opened in August.

AJ Hackett International is the official bungy jump operator at the glass bridge. The structure, in Hunan province, is the world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge.

The bungy platform would be mounted beneath it, offering a 260m drop, as well as a giant swing platform, flying foxes and another 40m bungy from a bridge above the glass bridge.

In early 2018 the international company will open a US$10m ($14m) Skypark in Moscow, featuring bungy, swings, flying foxes and glass viewing vertigo experiences.

The company was also diversifying its operations in Macau, China. Home to the world's highest bungy jump at present, 233m, by the end of 2018 the attraction would also include jet-boating, while Mr Hackett's luxury Indonesian resort, Pondok Santi Estate on the island of Gili Trawangan, was set to undergo a comprehensive expansion which would ultimately triple its size.

The projects were funded either entirely by AJ Hackett International, joint ventures or private/government investment.

Mr Hackett said the company's success could be attributed to sticking to its core values and a philosophy of doing business sustainably and with "huge amounts'' of innovation.

"We've always been really careful about where we operate and who we operate with.

"Thanks to our track record of being really innovative, an impeccable safety focus and managing human risk, we now have individuals and governments coming to us, saying 'we need this in our country'.

"They tell us, 'we want our people and visitors to experience this personal challenge'.

"Then we get carried away with designers and make everything really cool.

"There are plenty of things you can jump off but we want it to be special - whether you're jumping or just participating.''

- Otago Daily Times

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