Analysis - TEA/AECOM Enduring Appeal | attractionsmanagement.com
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs . News . Features . Video . Products . Magazine . Handbook . Advertise . Contact us  
Analysis
TEA/AECOM Enduring Appeal

The TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index signals another bright year for visitor attendance across the industry, with exceptional figures for waterparks, museums and theme parks in Asia

Global Picture: Still On The Up
Attendance at the world’s top 25 theme parks reached an all-time high last year, according to the TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index & Museum Index.

With 215 million visits in 2013, it’s an increase of 4.3 per cent year-on-year. The top of the chart is dominated by Disney, with Universal Studios Japan the only non-Disney park to break into the top 10.

Particularly strong performance was witnessed at parks situated in Asia, most notably Tokyo Disneyland in Japan and Lotte World in South Korea, both of which experienced commendable attendance jumps of 15.9 per cent in 2013. This is indicative of a shift in focus for theme park development towards the East, which has come to the forefront in recent years. The gap in attendance between the top 20 North American parks and the top 20 Asian parks is narrowing further, falling from a difference of 22.9 million people in 2012 to 18.3 million in 2013. New ­openings are still focused on emerging markets like the Middle East and Asia.

Despite experiencing another challenging year of flat growth, the European theme park market did see some success stories. Parks located in Northern Europe generally outperformed those in Southern Europe, with Merlin’s attractions performing particularly well. For example, attendance to Merlin-operated Chessington World of Adventures in the UK jumped by 15.4 per cent in 2013 to 1.5 million due to the addition of the new Zufari: Ride Into Africa off-road safari trail.

The global top 20 waterparks had a great year, witnessing year-on-year growth of 7.1 per cent. Half of these parks are located in Asia, with Aquaventure in the UAE still the only top water-based attraction in the EMEA region. The rest are situated in the Americas.

Europe dominates the global museum market in terms of visitation; however, the National Museum of China experienced an incredible leap in attendance of 38.7 per cent, moving it into third place internationally. This growth reflects not only the change to free entry, but also the significant redevelopment which has taken place at this museum, where the focus has shifted from local to national history and a number of attractive international exhibitions boosted audience attendance.

Operator Performance: Disney Rules
The global top 10 attractions operators had another successful year, seeing attendance increases of 5.4 per cent across the attractions in 2013. Disney led the way again, achieving an aggregate attendance level of 132.5 million, a growth of 4.8 per cent, primarily due to the incredibly strong performance of its Asian parks. Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea and Hong Kong Disneyland all posted double-digit growth in 2013, a result of significant reinvestment in new rides and park expansions.

Building on remarkable growth of 16 per cent in 2012, Merlin Entertainments cemented their silver medal position by posting yet another year of attendance growth; up 11 per cent for 2013. A new addition to the top 10 global operator list is the Fantawild Group. The Chinese chain registered incredible growth of 43 per cent in 2013, entering the chart for the first time at number nine, more than 3 million visits ahead of the Haichang Group who slipped back to number 10.

European Picture: North – South Divide
Overall, attendance at the top 20 European theme parks dropped slightly from 57.9 million down to 57.8 million in 2013, a decline of 0.1 per cent. A key reason for this is the relatively poor performance of the two Disney parks situated near Paris: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.

From a geographical perspective, one-quarter of the top 20 theme parks are located in France, while one-fifth are in the UK. The strongest increases in attendance were experienced in the UK (7.3 per cent), followed by Denmark (5.6 per cent) and Germany (5.2 per cent).

These countries’ economies performed far better than those of the other European countries with parks in the top 20. Generally speaking, there seems to be a correlation between the GDP of a particular country and its attraction attendance dynamics. When looking at the top 20 European parks as a whole, attendance has declined following the economic recession. Comparing GDP growth by country to the attendance growth of theme parks located within each country, economies boasting positive changes in GDP also experienced positive growth in attendance to theme parks. The sole anomaly was France (whose GDP increased by 0.3 per cent in 2013 but attendance to parks featuring in the top 20 fell by 6.3 per cent) though GDP did exceed expectations and the ­positive ­economic picture was only achieved towards the latter half of the year, when people are less likely to go to theme parks.

The Weather: Does It Really Matter?
Poor weather is often to blame for poor attendance levels at visitor attractions with a dominant outdoor component. The UK market is a good example of the relationship between the two, given the country’s weather is so often a subject of heavy discussion, and indeed the change in rainfall (mm) over the last five years points to a link between attendance and weather. More rain leads to a drop in attendance; less rain equals growth in attendance. In 2011, there was significantly more rainfall than in 2010 (99 per cent more) and theme park attendance fell by 0.6 per cent. In 2010, there was significantly less rainfall than in 2009; theme park attendance grew by 2.1 per cent.

Despite finding some evidence of what may be a causal relationship between weather patterns and attendance levels, a number of other factors contribute significantly to the performance of the attractions market. The weather is just one of these. Other key reasons for swings in performance include: economic conditions; reinvestment; strength of marketing campaigns; special offers or strategic linkages between parks (for example, Merlin’s two for one deals and multi-attraction discounts); expansion of a park; and the addition of other components to the destinations, such as accommodation.

Museums: 2nd Year in the Theme Index
Museums are a recent addition to the Global Theme Index, with 2013 marking the second year they have been included into our analysis. The most striking performance was that of the Asian market, where attendance increased by 27.8 per cent in 2013. This was largely a result of the Chinese policy for all public museums to have free entry, an initiative which has been rolled out to approximately two-thirds of Chinese museums over the course of 2013. Europe dominates the museum market on a global scale, benefitting from a mature market and a large number of collections which are free to enter. Whereas theme park attendance fell across Europe in 2013, museum attendance grew by 4.5 per cent from 71.5 million to 74.8 million visitors in 2013.

Remaining at the top of the chart is the Louvre. It is head and shoulders above the rest of the global museum market with 9.3 million visitors versus 8 million at the Natural History Museum of Washington DC, in second place. This isn’t merely an interesting fact, but it is a true feat of force as the Louvre levies an entry fee and the Natural History Museum is free of charge. Furthermore, 2012 was a record year for the Louvre, with Da Vinci and Raphael exhibitions boosting attendance numbers significantly during that year. Despite a fall in attendance numbers in 2013 of half a million, attendance to the museum was still the strongest in the world at 9.3 million. A true tour de force!

Unsurprisingly, given the prevailing economic uncertainty in Europe, free museums outperformed paid museums, registering 5.8 per cent and 2.1 per cent growth respectively. French museums, for example, underperformed relative to museums situated in other European countries all French museums in the top 20 charge an admission fee to visitors and consequently, French museum attendance performance was negative overall (-3.1 per cent) for this year which was also a bad year for the French economy.

Museum attendance was mixed in the UK when looking at individual museum performance, but the overall picture is positive, with the industry achieving 6.7 per cent growth in 2013. This increase in attendance has been attributed to the success and strength of “Brand London” in the wake of the Olympics, which provided a spotlight on the UK’s attractions and the city as a tourist destination. This strong performance has also been boosted by the string of popular exhibitions such as Pompeii and Herculaneum, which attracted around 471,000 visitors to the British Museum alone. This is a good example of how museums rely on exhibitions to drive attendance, much like theme parks investing in new rides.

Outlook: Focus on Emerging Markets
Key trends to watch this year include the evolution of theme parks into destination resorts (through the addition of second gates, mixed use developments and accommodation options) and a rise in the number of branded attractions and rides. The results of this year’s Theme Index point towards continued growth on a global level, particularly within Asia. Despite another year of relative stability at theme parks across Europe, growth in museum attendance is a positive indicator for the attractions market in this region. Further recovery in the European theme park market is likely to be tied to economic recovery in Southern Europe.

A large number of exciting projects are in the pipeline in the Middle East, a region likely to feature heavily in the Index in years to come. Pre-recession plans are resurfacing, with the development of a new museum cluster on Saadiyat Island in the UAE and Warner Bros’ Park on Yas Island representing just two of the new visitor experiences expected to hit the market in the short to medium term. While attraction development in the UAE has been focused on waterparks thus far (with the exception of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi), we are now seeing a broader range of visitor attractions in the pipeline, which are expected to move swiftly into the operational phase.

Internationally recognized IP providers are rapidly gaining interest in the Middle East, with Walt Disney announcing it’s in talks with a number of partners in Doha, Dubai and Kuwait with the aim of attracting high spenders from the region to its resorts. Other key operators expressing interest in the region include British-born Merlin Entertainments (Legoland, Dubai) and Universal Studios, which is considering developing a theme park as part of the multi-park Dubailand development. We also understand that Seaworld is currently undertaking studies to help it assess the potential for developing a number of theme park concepts in locations across the Middle East.

The museum industry looks set to continue to grow further in Asia, as the free-entry museums initiative in China rolls out further and local governments push to open more establishments across the country as part of their goal to increase the ratio of museums to people. In addition to state-run institutions, the so-called ­“museumification” of China includes a large number of institutions under construction in order to support corporate and private interests.

The danger of building so many museums in quick succession is vast oversupply, and there is already speculation that demand will not support the large number of scheduled and newly opened collections. However, “build it and they will come” is a popular phrase used by developers and if recent attendance figures are anything to go by, Asia’s appetite for museums is very strong.


Key Facts and Figures
- 214.7 million visits to the world’s top 25 theme parks in 2013; a 7.1 per cent rise
- 377.3 million visits to attractions run by top 10 operating groups in 2013; a 4.3 per cent rise
- 135.1 million visits to top 20 North American theme parks in 2013; a 2.7 per cent rise
- 13.7 million visits to top 10 Latin American theme parks in 2013; a 3.8 per cent rise
- 116.8 million visits to top 20 Asian theme parks in 2013; a 7.5 per cent rise
- 26.9 million visits to the world’s top 20 water parks in 2013; a 7.1 per cent rise
- 15 million visits to top 20 North American water parks in 2013; a 2.3 per cent fall
- 57.7 million visits to top 20 North American museums in 2013; a 1.6 percent rise
- 53.0 million visits to top 20 Asian museums in 2013; a 27.6 per cent rise
- 74.8 million visits to top 20 European museums in 2013; a 4.6 per cent rise

Aquaventure is the only Middle Eastern waterpark to register a presence in the top 20
Top 25 theme/AMUSEMENT parks worldwide
Aquaventure is the only Middle Eastern waterpark to register a presence in the top 20
Top 20 Waterparks worldwide
Wild Africa Trek at Disney Animal Kingdom allows visitors to get up-close with the park’s wildlife
Top 20 Museums Worldwide
The Louvre in France maintains its position as the most well attended museum in the world
COMPANY PROFILE
WhiteWater

WhiteWater was born in 1980 to create places where families unite and make joyful lasting [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

NEMO Science Museum shares its customer experience philosophy
What could possibly go wrong with a science museum that gets more visitors year after year? [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

instantprint - Online Print Made Easy!
We're the only online printing company who really gets your business. Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion: Meet the Team - Introduction – Red Raion
Experience the experience – Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems
Red Raion - VR/5D Films Showreel 2016 – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
ATTRACTIONS DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
ATTRACTIONS DIARY

06 Jun 2019

Swiss Medical Spa & Hospitality Think Tank 2019

Campus Passugg, SSTH, 7062 Passugg, Switzerland
11-14 Jun 2019

IAAPA Expo Asia 2019

Shanghai New International Expo Center, Shanghai, China
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

2019 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2018 issue 4


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2018 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2018 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

15 May 2019 issue 130


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019
Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
Analysis
TEA/AECOM Enduring Appeal

The TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index signals another bright year for visitor attendance across the industry, with exceptional figures for waterparks, museums and theme parks in Asia

Global Picture: Still On The Up
Attendance at the world’s top 25 theme parks reached an all-time high last year, according to the TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index & Museum Index.

With 215 million visits in 2013, it’s an increase of 4.3 per cent year-on-year. The top of the chart is dominated by Disney, with Universal Studios Japan the only non-Disney park to break into the top 10.

Particularly strong performance was witnessed at parks situated in Asia, most notably Tokyo Disneyland in Japan and Lotte World in South Korea, both of which experienced commendable attendance jumps of 15.9 per cent in 2013. This is indicative of a shift in focus for theme park development towards the East, which has come to the forefront in recent years. The gap in attendance between the top 20 North American parks and the top 20 Asian parks is narrowing further, falling from a difference of 22.9 million people in 2012 to 18.3 million in 2013. New ­openings are still focused on emerging markets like the Middle East and Asia.

Despite experiencing another challenging year of flat growth, the European theme park market did see some success stories. Parks located in Northern Europe generally outperformed those in Southern Europe, with Merlin’s attractions performing particularly well. For example, attendance to Merlin-operated Chessington World of Adventures in the UK jumped by 15.4 per cent in 2013 to 1.5 million due to the addition of the new Zufari: Ride Into Africa off-road safari trail.

The global top 20 waterparks had a great year, witnessing year-on-year growth of 7.1 per cent. Half of these parks are located in Asia, with Aquaventure in the UAE still the only top water-based attraction in the EMEA region. The rest are situated in the Americas.

Europe dominates the global museum market in terms of visitation; however, the National Museum of China experienced an incredible leap in attendance of 38.7 per cent, moving it into third place internationally. This growth reflects not only the change to free entry, but also the significant redevelopment which has taken place at this museum, where the focus has shifted from local to national history and a number of attractive international exhibitions boosted audience attendance.

Operator Performance: Disney Rules
The global top 10 attractions operators had another successful year, seeing attendance increases of 5.4 per cent across the attractions in 2013. Disney led the way again, achieving an aggregate attendance level of 132.5 million, a growth of 4.8 per cent, primarily due to the incredibly strong performance of its Asian parks. Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea and Hong Kong Disneyland all posted double-digit growth in 2013, a result of significant reinvestment in new rides and park expansions.

Building on remarkable growth of 16 per cent in 2012, Merlin Entertainments cemented their silver medal position by posting yet another year of attendance growth; up 11 per cent for 2013. A new addition to the top 10 global operator list is the Fantawild Group. The Chinese chain registered incredible growth of 43 per cent in 2013, entering the chart for the first time at number nine, more than 3 million visits ahead of the Haichang Group who slipped back to number 10.

European Picture: North – South Divide
Overall, attendance at the top 20 European theme parks dropped slightly from 57.9 million down to 57.8 million in 2013, a decline of 0.1 per cent. A key reason for this is the relatively poor performance of the two Disney parks situated near Paris: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.

From a geographical perspective, one-quarter of the top 20 theme parks are located in France, while one-fifth are in the UK. The strongest increases in attendance were experienced in the UK (7.3 per cent), followed by Denmark (5.6 per cent) and Germany (5.2 per cent).

These countries’ economies performed far better than those of the other European countries with parks in the top 20. Generally speaking, there seems to be a correlation between the GDP of a particular country and its attraction attendance dynamics. When looking at the top 20 European parks as a whole, attendance has declined following the economic recession. Comparing GDP growth by country to the attendance growth of theme parks located within each country, economies boasting positive changes in GDP also experienced positive growth in attendance to theme parks. The sole anomaly was France (whose GDP increased by 0.3 per cent in 2013 but attendance to parks featuring in the top 20 fell by 6.3 per cent) though GDP did exceed expectations and the ­positive ­economic picture was only achieved towards the latter half of the year, when people are less likely to go to theme parks.

The Weather: Does It Really Matter?
Poor weather is often to blame for poor attendance levels at visitor attractions with a dominant outdoor component. The UK market is a good example of the relationship between the two, given the country’s weather is so often a subject of heavy discussion, and indeed the change in rainfall (mm) over the last five years points to a link between attendance and weather. More rain leads to a drop in attendance; less rain equals growth in attendance. In 2011, there was significantly more rainfall than in 2010 (99 per cent more) and theme park attendance fell by 0.6 per cent. In 2010, there was significantly less rainfall than in 2009; theme park attendance grew by 2.1 per cent.

Despite finding some evidence of what may be a causal relationship between weather patterns and attendance levels, a number of other factors contribute significantly to the performance of the attractions market. The weather is just one of these. Other key reasons for swings in performance include: economic conditions; reinvestment; strength of marketing campaigns; special offers or strategic linkages between parks (for example, Merlin’s two for one deals and multi-attraction discounts); expansion of a park; and the addition of other components to the destinations, such as accommodation.

Museums: 2nd Year in the Theme Index
Museums are a recent addition to the Global Theme Index, with 2013 marking the second year they have been included into our analysis. The most striking performance was that of the Asian market, where attendance increased by 27.8 per cent in 2013. This was largely a result of the Chinese policy for all public museums to have free entry, an initiative which has been rolled out to approximately two-thirds of Chinese museums over the course of 2013. Europe dominates the museum market on a global scale, benefitting from a mature market and a large number of collections which are free to enter. Whereas theme park attendance fell across Europe in 2013, museum attendance grew by 4.5 per cent from 71.5 million to 74.8 million visitors in 2013.

Remaining at the top of the chart is the Louvre. It is head and shoulders above the rest of the global museum market with 9.3 million visitors versus 8 million at the Natural History Museum of Washington DC, in second place. This isn’t merely an interesting fact, but it is a true feat of force as the Louvre levies an entry fee and the Natural History Museum is free of charge. Furthermore, 2012 was a record year for the Louvre, with Da Vinci and Raphael exhibitions boosting attendance numbers significantly during that year. Despite a fall in attendance numbers in 2013 of half a million, attendance to the museum was still the strongest in the world at 9.3 million. A true tour de force!

Unsurprisingly, given the prevailing economic uncertainty in Europe, free museums outperformed paid museums, registering 5.8 per cent and 2.1 per cent growth respectively. French museums, for example, underperformed relative to museums situated in other European countries all French museums in the top 20 charge an admission fee to visitors and consequently, French museum attendance performance was negative overall (-3.1 per cent) for this year which was also a bad year for the French economy.

Museum attendance was mixed in the UK when looking at individual museum performance, but the overall picture is positive, with the industry achieving 6.7 per cent growth in 2013. This increase in attendance has been attributed to the success and strength of “Brand London” in the wake of the Olympics, which provided a spotlight on the UK’s attractions and the city as a tourist destination. This strong performance has also been boosted by the string of popular exhibitions such as Pompeii and Herculaneum, which attracted around 471,000 visitors to the British Museum alone. This is a good example of how museums rely on exhibitions to drive attendance, much like theme parks investing in new rides.

Outlook: Focus on Emerging Markets
Key trends to watch this year include the evolution of theme parks into destination resorts (through the addition of second gates, mixed use developments and accommodation options) and a rise in the number of branded attractions and rides. The results of this year’s Theme Index point towards continued growth on a global level, particularly within Asia. Despite another year of relative stability at theme parks across Europe, growth in museum attendance is a positive indicator for the attractions market in this region. Further recovery in the European theme park market is likely to be tied to economic recovery in Southern Europe.

A large number of exciting projects are in the pipeline in the Middle East, a region likely to feature heavily in the Index in years to come. Pre-recession plans are resurfacing, with the development of a new museum cluster on Saadiyat Island in the UAE and Warner Bros’ Park on Yas Island representing just two of the new visitor experiences expected to hit the market in the short to medium term. While attraction development in the UAE has been focused on waterparks thus far (with the exception of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi), we are now seeing a broader range of visitor attractions in the pipeline, which are expected to move swiftly into the operational phase.

Internationally recognized IP providers are rapidly gaining interest in the Middle East, with Walt Disney announcing it’s in talks with a number of partners in Doha, Dubai and Kuwait with the aim of attracting high spenders from the region to its resorts. Other key operators expressing interest in the region include British-born Merlin Entertainments (Legoland, Dubai) and Universal Studios, which is considering developing a theme park as part of the multi-park Dubailand development. We also understand that Seaworld is currently undertaking studies to help it assess the potential for developing a number of theme park concepts in locations across the Middle East.

The museum industry looks set to continue to grow further in Asia, as the free-entry museums initiative in China rolls out further and local governments push to open more establishments across the country as part of their goal to increase the ratio of museums to people. In addition to state-run institutions, the so-called ­“museumification” of China includes a large number of institutions under construction in order to support corporate and private interests.

The danger of building so many museums in quick succession is vast oversupply, and there is already speculation that demand will not support the large number of scheduled and newly opened collections. However, “build it and they will come” is a popular phrase used by developers and if recent attendance figures are anything to go by, Asia’s appetite for museums is very strong.


Key Facts and Figures
- 214.7 million visits to the world’s top 25 theme parks in 2013; a 7.1 per cent rise
- 377.3 million visits to attractions run by top 10 operating groups in 2013; a 4.3 per cent rise
- 135.1 million visits to top 20 North American theme parks in 2013; a 2.7 per cent rise
- 13.7 million visits to top 10 Latin American theme parks in 2013; a 3.8 per cent rise
- 116.8 million visits to top 20 Asian theme parks in 2013; a 7.5 per cent rise
- 26.9 million visits to the world’s top 20 water parks in 2013; a 7.1 per cent rise
- 15 million visits to top 20 North American water parks in 2013; a 2.3 per cent fall
- 57.7 million visits to top 20 North American museums in 2013; a 1.6 percent rise
- 53.0 million visits to top 20 Asian museums in 2013; a 27.6 per cent rise
- 74.8 million visits to top 20 European museums in 2013; a 4.6 per cent rise

Aquaventure is the only Middle Eastern waterpark to register a presence in the top 20
Top 25 theme/AMUSEMENT parks worldwide
Aquaventure is the only Middle Eastern waterpark to register a presence in the top 20
Top 20 Waterparks worldwide
Wild Africa Trek at Disney Animal Kingdom allows visitors to get up-close with the park’s wildlife
Top 20 Museums Worldwide
The Louvre in France maintains its position as the most well attended museum in the world
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS