A Park Database Feature
By Wonwhee Kim, Founder of The Park Database (left)
Happy holidays! ‘Tis the season of year-end lists and charts. We thought it would be informative to see what trends we could identify in amusement park development from publicly available sources.
What this is: an overview of publicly available data to see what we could learn from it. These are parks tracked by sources such as RCDB (the Roller Coaster Database), and include all parks that have at least one roller coaster in them. These parks can be anything from large outdoor theme parks, indoor FECs, to waterparks with coasters. It does not, therefore, make any statements about investment scale, attendance, or other measures besides raw counts.
New Amusement Parks
With that said, let’s look at new amusement parks:
• The main story of recent years, expectedly, is China. The chart illustrates the magnitude to which China has been influencing the markets. The sheer volume of amusement park construction in China over recent years is not shocking, but still astounding. After hitting a recent low (of “only” 30 new amusement parks) in 2008, development quickly rebounded the following year, propelled by its enormous fiscal stimulus. This year we saw approximately 12 new parks, including Happy Valley Tianjin, Fantawild Xiamen, Nantong Adventure, Euro Park Yantai, and Happy World Fuzhou added to the web data sets.
• 3 amusement parks opened in the United States this year, but at least one of them (Bell’s Amusement Park) was a reopening.
• Brazil shows an interesting pattern, as its growth seems to have increased at precisely the point that the growth in the United States decreased (2008-2009). More on Brazil below.
Existing Amusement Parks
• When we examine the existing inventory of amusement parks, we can see that China’s development hit a clear inflection point in 2002, as also indicated by the previous chart. This is the year after China joined the WTO, and subsequently experienced a much greater integration into the world economy. It appears to have surpassed the United States in terms of attraction park numbers in 2005.
• This chart of the Top 15 countries in terms of existing amusement parks overlaps significantly with a list of the Top 15 most populous countries in the world. Amusement park development, however, is driven by both population and wealth effects, and the latter is the reason many populous countries are not represented on the above chart.
• This would seem to have enormous implications for countries such as India (more on this below), whose population rivals that of China, but has approximately one-tenth the number of amusement parks.
• The un-bolded countries on the right column may represent frontier opportunities for intrepid developers and planners.
High Growth Countries
• The above chart represents the growth trajectories of countries in the top 15 that started from a base of amusement park of less than 20 in the mid-1990s.
• From bases close to 0-5, the rapid development over the past two decades in countries such as India, Russia, Brazil, and Turkey has resulted in very high rates of growth – but relative to their populations, perhaps may be underdeveloped, if we take India as an example.
How does all this correspond with your experience? Is your country on the charts above? Where do you think the new growth is coming from? Comments?
© Pro Forma Advisors LLC 2013