"Theme parks are a specialized business sector and both the operators and their investors need reliable information in order to make good decisions, " says TEA President Nick Farmer of Farmer Attraction Development. "The TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report, jointly produced by the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) and ERA (Economics Research Associates) identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and provides a 12-month snapshot of our industry. The publication of these statistics benefits us all in our continual efforts to improve the guest experience, to operate more efficiently and to move into new geographic markets in Asia and the Middle East."
The TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report for 2007is available now on the websites of TEA and ERA as well as at the websites of industry publications Park World Magazine and InPark Magazine (IPM) and presents global attendance data of top theme parks and waterparks, broken down by geographic area, by chain and by type of venue.
The report is a collaboration by TEA – the leading international trade alliance for the creators of compelling experiences and places – and ERA – a top international consulting firm providing economic analysis for the entertainment and leisure industry. It is a definitive reference work relied upon by journalists and professionals in the attractions and tourism community. The report also stirs intense interest among theme park enthusiasts.
"Overall, 2007 was what we call a ‘steady as she goes’ year for theme parks and waterparks, with healthy, modest growth across most sectors and geographies, " says John Robinett, Senior Vice President of ERA. "Tourism numbers in Orlando rose only modestly, but the theme parks did fairly well with strong, single-digit growth which is notable for that mature market. Several theme parks in Southern California were coming off strong previous years and were either flat or were slightly down. Theme parks in Europe did well, with more than 3 % growth. Asia had some dramatic highs and lows. Disney remains the world leader by a big margin."
Some key figures and information from the report
All figures are for calendar year 2007 unless otherwise indicated.
· 122.8 million: Total visits to the top 20 parks in North America, representing growth of an estimated 2.6 percent compared to previous year. Attendance growth of 4.1 percent during the two-year period of 2005-2007 for top North American parks
· 60.9 million: Attendance for the top 20 European parks, representing a growth rate of 3 percent. Attendance growth of 4.8 percent from 2005-2007 for top European parks
· 11.3 million: Visits to top 10 parks in Mexico and Latin America
· 65.8 million: Total attendance to top 10 Asian/Pacific Rim parks
· 187.6 million: The total theme park attendance for top 25 worldwide parks in 2007, up 0.5 percent compared to previous year
· 12.2 million: Combined visitation to top 15 US waterparks, representing more than 3 percent growth from 2006
· 18.5 million: Total attendance to top 20 worldwide waterparks, up nearly 6 percent from 2006
North American theme parks demonstrated fairly strong attendance growth at more than 2.5 percent. "The standouts were Disney – which had a particularly strong showing in its Orlando theme parks – and Universal Studios, also doing well in Orlando, " notes John Robinett of ERA. Several theme parks in Southern California, coming off strong previous years, were either flat or slightly down. "Disneyland managed a slight attendance increase in a competitive market with low, single-digit tourism growth, " observes Christian Aaen, Principal, ERA.
Major theme park chains show an overall increase of 3.8 %, "primarily driven by acquisitions by Merlin Entertainments Group, Parques Reunidos, Herschend Family Entertainment plus growth in most of Disney’s and Universal’s theme parks, " says ERA’s Christian Aaen.
Parks in Europe also did well, with more than 3 % growth in attendance and four theme parks showing increases in the double digits. David Camp, Director, ERA Europe/Africa/Middle East office, explains, "The 15th anniversary of Disneyland Paris saw strong attendance growth as a result of strong marketing and strategic investment." ERA Director Lesley Morisetti adds that of the European theme parks, "Whilst relatively poor weather, particularly at key holiday periods, led to a downturn in attendance for many sites, the parks that invested in new rides and attractions and/or on-site hotel development in 2007 all showed year-on-year growth."
Christian Aaen noted that on the Asian theme parks scene, the figures reveal a more complex picture. "Overall, the Asian numbers are down because two major parks – Hong Kong Disneyland and Lotte World – had significant attendance declines, however, two other parks also achieved sizeable increases: Ocean Park and OCT’s Happy Valley, " said Aaen.
HKD in its second year of operation experienced a sophomore slump, down over 20 % from its opening year. Lotte World (Seoul) was closed for six months for improvements and renovations, which cut attendance by over half.
Excluding Lotte World, the Asian numbers become more favorable. Aaen pointed out that Ocean Park (Hong Kong), which caters heavily to the Chinese tourist market, displayed strong attendance growth at more than 12 % leading to a record season and that Happy Valley, the leading theme park in Mainland China, had a strong year and is up 10 %.
The figures also show that Disney’s two Japanese parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, continue to thrive with total combined attendance of over an estimated 26 million. TDS celebrated its 5th anniversary and attendance was up 2.5 %. TDL is marking its 25th year in 2008 and attendance rose 1.5 %. At Universal Studios Japan, attendance was up 2.5 %
Latin American theme parks exhibited modest, steady growth at around 2.1 % overall. La Ciudad de los Niños (Kidzania) and Parque Plaza Sésamo exhibited good growth in Mexico City and Monterrey.
Waterparks are growing dynamically, with the biggest increases in the US but plenty of activity in other countries. Dan Martin, ERA Vice President in the US, pointed out that four US waterparks had double-digit attendance increases. "Hyland Hills Water World [Denver] had everything firing on all cylinders, " explains Martin, "- perfect summer weather, excellent marketing and a new attraction. Dollywood’s Splash Country also invested wisely in new features." Christian Aaen added that in the waterpark sector, "Asia is catching up very quickly, particularly led by Korea and Japan with major indoor/outdoor waterparks part of resort destinations."
About the numbers
ERA obtains the figures used to create this report through a variety of sources, including statistics furnished directly by the operators, historical numbers, financial reports, the investment banking community and local tourism organizations, among others. The global market is studied as a whole, and each of its four main regions is also studied separately: North America, Mexico/Latin America, Europe and Asia. There is also a table of the top waterparks in the world and in the United States, and of the top global chain operators.
To be included in the study, a facility in general must be gated (entry ticket required). North American parks must have annual visits above one million. To be included on the top chains list, a chain operator must have theme parks in its portfolio. External and internal factors such as development, pricing, customer service, weather, demographics, investment/expansion, attendance and other dynamics that affect the estimated numbers are noted in comments within the charts.
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international, nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 to represent the creators of compelling experiences and places worldwide – including designers, architects and engineers, technical specialists and master planners, media artists and scenic fabricators, builders, feasibility analysts, lighting designers and event producers – as well as owners, operators and developers, totaling some 6, 500 creative specialists working in more than 500 firms in 39 different countries. TEA is headquartered in Burbank, Calif. USA. Visit www.teaconnect.org.
Economics Research Associates (ERA) is the leading international consulting firm focused on economic analysis for the entertainment and leisure industry, real estate development, public-policy analysis, tourism and economic development. Since its founding in 1958, ERA has completed more than 17, 500 assignments yielding unmatched experience in theme parks and land-use economics.
About the Editor
Judith Rubin is a prominent voice in the industry media, since 1987 actively using the written word to promote the attractions community on behalf of trade associations, publications and creative companies.
TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report for 2007 – Credits
Executive Publisher: TEA (Themed Entertainment Association)
Executive Editor: Gene Jeffers
Research: Economics Research Associates (ERA)
Editor: Judith Rubin
Publishers: InPark Magazine, Park World Magazine
© 2008 TEA/ERA. All Rights Reserved.
TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report supplemental distribution by:
InPark Magazine (IPM)
Park World Magazine
Distribution support provided by:
For information about ERA and to discuss details of the Attendance Report:
John Robinett (USA)
Christian Aaen (USA/Asia), 1-310-477-9585
(Europe/Africa/Middle East), +44-207-651-0222
Dan Martin (US waterparks) 1-312-427-3855
For information about TEA:
TEA Publications Editor
(PHOTO at left: South Carolina Govenor Mark Sanford (left) celebrates the official groundbreaking of the new Hard Rock Theme Park with Oliver Munday, Vice President of Hard Rock International (middle) and Steve Goodwin, CEP HRP Global Management LLC )