Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Theme Index – 2009 park attendance figures released

The park industry managed to weather the economic storm at a level equal or greater than many other industries in 2009, according to the latest amusement park attendance report from TEA and AECOM (formerly Economics Research Associates/ERA).

The 2009 Theme Index, published April 2010, cites just short of 186 million visits to the top 25 parks worldwide, a decline of 0.2 percent from the previous year.

“The international theme park and visitor attractions industry is coming off a challenging year due to the global economic recession,” notes TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) president Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates. “The figures within the 2009 TEA/AECOM Global Attraction Attendance Report reflect that. But they also reflect the resilience and creativity of the industry and show us the way to future growth. Under the circumstances, in 2009 the major theme parks did remarkably well.”

In 2009, most of the top theme parks and leisure destinations saw either flat attendance or a decline. This was due in large part to reduced spending and travel by consumers reacting to the recession, along with the effects of the H1N1 flu virus. “Most parks felt the impact of the deepest recession since the Great Depression,” said Ray Braun, Senior Vice President, AECOM, and head of its Entertainment and Recreation Economics operation.

The strategies employed by theme parks to sustain numbers and make the best of a troubled situation underscore the basic fundamentals of good business in the visitor attractions industry: reinvestment in the guest experience, creative targeted marketing and building the relationship with the customer.

The report identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance for the previous year. Global attendance data are broken down by geographic region, by chain and by type of venue. The report is a valuable business reference and resource for the themed entertainment industry.

Key Figures from the report for calendar year 2009 unless otherwise indicated:

185.64 million: The total theme park attendance for top 25 worldwide parks, a decline of 0.2 percent from 2008

121.4 million: Total visits to the top 20 parks in North America, a decline of 1.1 percent from 2008. Since 2005, attendance to the top 20 parks in North America has grown by 2.8 percent

57.3 million: Attendance for the top 20 European parks, level with 2008 numbers. Total attendance for top 20 parks has grown by 7.3 percent since 2005

65.5 million: Total visits to the top 10 Asian parks down 3.5 percent from 2008. For the new top 15 Asian parks, total attendance was 77.6 million in 2009, a decline of 2.9 percent compared to 2008

12.3 million: Attendance to top 10 parks in Mexico and Latin America up 1.3 percent from 2008

20.7 million: Top 20 worldwide waterparks attendance in 2009 – an increase of 2.1 percent from 2008

12.8 million: Total visitation to top 15 waterparks in US, a growth of 3.0 percent from 2008 and 11.6 percent from 2005.

Download the full report here.

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