The West

Perth has been identified as the preferred home for a proposed $4 billion resort and theme park by a European animatronics entertainment company.

Encouraged by the State Government's push to boost WA's profile as a world-class holiday destination, Ermes Technologies wants to attract more than two million tourists a year by building one of the biggest family resort and theme park operations on the planet.

The proposed development would be similar in style to Walt Disney World and would include two theme parks, up to four hotels, two golf courses and an entertainment precinct featuring restaurants, retail shops, stage shows and discos.

Ermes themed entertainment division chief executive Enrico Petrucci said Perth's proximity and direct flights to Asia and its growing popularity as a cruise ship destination made it an ideal resort location.

"The resort will be a dreamland," he said. "Totally self-contained to reach, to rest and have fun for two or three days.

"Where people can return home with unforgettable memories and the desire to come back again.

"Of course, it would be foolish of any business to place all its eggs in one basket and if we find Perth is not interested, the second city we are looking at is Melbourne."

Mr Petrucci said the development would be the biggest project yet for the Italian-based company's themed entertainment division, which specialised in custom-built hotels and themed attractions.

Ermes is the representative of Sally Corporation, whose attractions include Universal Studios in Los Angeles and Florida and Britain's Alton Towers.

Mr Petrucci said a specific location and the size of the park had not been finalised.

Ermes planned to secure agreements with Australian architects for the park's design before approaching the State Government with a formal proposal.

The company also hoped to work with the WA Academy of Performing Arts to provide hands-on training and work for students.

It planned to open hospitality, cooking and bar service schools.

Tourism WA chief Stephanie Buckland said the proponents of the potential development had not approached the State.

"But from what you describe, it sounds like a bold and exciting development that would be welcome in Western Australia," she said.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames said it was an exciting and ambitious proposal and he would be interested to learn more.

WAAPA director Julie Warn said any development that ramped up the entertainment and allied industries in WA and increased employment opportunities for students was welcome.

The West Australian

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