Attractions industry news
20 Jun 2012
TEA/AECOM report sees continued growth for international theme park admissions
Image: PortAventura, one of the parks to report an increase in admissions following capital investments
The international theme park industry continued to grow in 2011, with total admissions to the world's top 25 theme parks increasing by 4 per cent on the previous year.
The figures come from the annual Global Attractions Attendance Report, published in partnership by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and economic analyst AECOM. In total, the world's leading parks attracted 196 million visits last year - a new record level.
Asian parks performed particularly well during 2011, with the top 20 attractions reporting an increase of 7.5 per cent in total visits. Overall attendance passed the 100 million mark (103.3 million visitors) for the first time.
Within the region, Ocean Park in Hong Kong (29 per cent), Hong Kong Disneyland (14 per cent) and Nagashima Spa Land in Japan (30 per cent) all reported double-digit percentage attendance growth.
In North America, the number of visits to parks increased by 2.9 per cent - although a considerable portion of the growth was driven by the success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida. Without Harry Potter, the top 20 North American parks saw growth of 1.6 per cent.
The European market endured a somewhat mixed year, with a number of leading parks seeing capital investment resulting in increased attendances, while other parks experienced falls in visitor numbers.
Portaventura in Salou, Spain, introduced an entirely new themed family land at the park - SesamoAventura - which contributed to a 15.5 per cent increase in visits.
Disneyland Paris (4.7 per cent), Efteling in Belgium (3.1 per cent) and Tivoli Gardens in Denmark (7.2 per cent) all saw healthy increases, while Alton Towers in the UK (-5.4 per cent), Phantasialand in Brühl, Germany (-5.4 per cent) and Parc Asterix (-4.1 per cent) all experienced decreases.
Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida, retains its position as the world's most visited theme park with 17.1 million visitors in 2011 (up 1 per cent on 2010), followed by Disneyland California with 16.1 million (up 1 per cent).
Disney parks dominate the list of the 10 most visited parks in the world with the top eight parks, while Universal Studios Japan (9th with 8.5 million visits, up 4 per cent) and Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando (10th, 7.7 million visits, up 29 per cent) complete the list.
Commenting on the report, John Robinett, AECOM's senior vice president of economics, said: "We're seeing good results, given the economic conditions bu there are three things that really stand out this year.
"First, a pair of outstanding performers in the US - Universal Orland and SeaWorld San Diego. They are lessons to all operators on how to apply reinvestment to beat the business cycle.
"Second, Asia's attendance milestone of 103.3 million for 2011, when added to the parks coming on line three in the near future indicates that the region is closing in on North America's attendance numbers - and may even surpass it within the next decade.
"Third, the attractions industry in Asia is coming into its own in terms of outsanding and unique creativity, trend setting and business models. Reinvestment in Asian parks in 2011 has raised the bar not just on the specific properties but for the entire industry."
To access the full report, visit: www.aecom.com (.pdf)