2018 AECOM and TEA Theme Index and Museum Index Report released

The 2018 AECOM and TEA Theme Index and Museum Index Report has been released showing strong results for theme park, water park and museum attendance.

This long running global attendance report records theme park, water park and museums attendance figures numbers for the year.

John Robinett, Senior Vice President – Economics, AECOM, said, “Our figures show that attendance at themed attractions at the major operators has exceeded a half billion visits for the first time in history. This is equivalent to almost 7% of the world population. Factors that have led to this strong performance include the addition of second gates, the continued leveraging of blockbuster intellectual property (IP), and the building of resort hotels adjacent to park properties.”

TEA International Board President Michael Mercadante of Main Street Design said, “The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is an important aspect of how our global membership association serves the global industry with information and resources. TEA values its continuing partnership with AECOM.”

Jennie Nevin, TEA Chief Operating Officer, added, “TEA is delighted to continue its longstanding collaboration with AECOM to produce the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index every year. The Theme Index helps TEA in its mission to educate and enrich the industry and promote best practices that lead to success and innovation.”

Theme park and water park trends

Attendance at the leading theme park groups (by visitor numbers) increased attendance by 5.4% from 476 million to 501 million visitors. Visits to the top 25 theme parks worldwide grew by 3.3% from 243 million to 252 million.

Attendance at the top 20 water parks grew by 2.5% in 2018

This growth has been attributed to effective IP partnerships, second gates and the addition of resort hotels.

Brian Sands, Vice President / Director – Economics, Americas, AECOM, said in the Americas, “The biggest growth is IP-driven. The big players are in a position to command the big IP – and have full awareness of the power of these franchises and what they can do in a storytelling environment, with innovative experiences and rides, made immersive with state-of-the-art technology.”

Chris Yoshii, Vice President – Economics, Asia-Pacific, AECOM, said, “In the two years since it opened, Shanghai Disneyland has quickly become a standard-bearer for Asia. Its influence has led other parks to upgrade their offerings and guest experience.”

Jodie Lock, Associate – Economics, Asia-Pacific and EMEA, AECOM, said that European theme park attendance is “all about expanding guests’ options and promoting a longer stay like adding a second (or third) gate, hotel, FEC, adventure park, seasonal event or other experience. Disney remains the top European operator, with other leading European parks making their way up the charts. Europa-Park (Germany), Efteling (Netherlands), Tivoli (Denmark), Gardaland (Italy), Parque Warner (Spain) and Alton Towers (UK) are among those that did well.”

Museum trends

Attendance for the world’s top 20 museums increased by 0.1%. Temporary blockbuster exhibitions and celebrity endorsement were responsible for attendance spikes. Other trends include pop-up and immersive instagrammable artainment experiences.

Linda Cheu, Vice President – Economics, Americas, AECOM, said, “Temporary exhibitions and geopolitical stability continue to serve as key attendance drivers for museums in Europe, the global market leader. Museums in China performed very well overall. A key direction being seen all over the world is the ‘mediafication’ of exhibits. Visual moments that can be posted to Instragram are being incorporated at museums to engage those active on social media platforms. Art is being blended into interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to step into, touch, and move through the artwork – and, of course, capture all of this on camera.”

Observation experiences

For the first time this year the report includes data on observation experiences. The top 20 observation experiences worldwide attracted 53 million visitors. The Tokyo Skytree ranked first with an estimated 6.4 million visits.

Brian Sands, Vice President / Director of Economics, Americas, AECOM, said, “With the right combination of factors in major urban markets, these attractions can generate strong attendance and significant revenue, as well as contribute to destination branding.”

View the report here.