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Asia leads global growth in theme park and waterparks attendance

Asia leads global growth in theme park and waterparks attendance
June 6, 2013

Asia's theme and water parks led a global rise in attendances with a 5.8% in annual attendances in 2012 – with visitation rising to 108.7 million attendances.

By comparison, just released figures in the annual Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)/AECOM Theme Index show that visits to North American attractions rose by 3.6% to 131.5 million visitors, while Europe registered a 0.3% slide to 58 million attendees. 

Having crossed the 100 million mark in attendance for the first time in 2011, Asia now represents more than a third of the global visitor attractions market with Asia starting to pull ahead of traditional market leader North America.

Introducing the report, AECOM Senior Vice President - Economics John Robinett referred to "double digit growth on the part of leading international and domestic operators (in Asia, with) Hong Kong Disney and Universal Studios Japan ... up 14% (while) Lotte
World, Chimelong and other major parks saw tremendous growth."

Robinett also highlighted that the top ten global theme and water park operators had performed particularly well, experiencing a 6.7% rise in visits during the year.

Theme Parks
Disney topped the theme park attendance list with the world's top eight most attended theme parks from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida, USA with 17,536,000 (a rise of 2.3%); through Disneyland in California; Tokyo Disneyland (14,847,000, up 8.5%); Tokyo Disney Sea (12,656,000, up 8.5%); Disneyland Paris; Epcot at Walt Disney World, Florida; Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida; Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Florida.

Beyond Disney's theme parks in the region, Asian theme parks in the top 20 most visited attractions in 2012 included:

• Universal Studios Japan (9th most visited theme park in the world) - 9,700,000, up 14.1%
• Ocean Park, Hong Kong (12th) - 7,436,000, up 6.9%
• Everland, South Korea (13th) - 6,853,000, up 4.3%
• Hong Kond Disneyland (14th) - 6,570,000, up 13.6%
• Lotte World, South Korea (15th) - 6,383,000, up 10.4%
• Nagashima Spa Land, Japan (18th) - 5,850,000, up 0.5%

Further discussing the report's Asian findings, AECOM Vice President - Economics (Asia-Pacific) Chris Yoshi adds that "solid growth (in the region) was led by the post-tsunami recovery of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, as well as significant new attractions added to major parks. 

"Big gainers for the year include Universal Studios Japan showing an impressive 14% jump in attendance with 9.7 million visits on the back of Universal Wonderland; Hong Kong Disneyland (13.6% increase) with the Grizzly Gulch themed zone opening, and Soncheng Park in Hangzhou (14.2% increase) which also opened a large new attraction zone."

"As a driver of global tourism, the mainland Chinese tourist is fast becoming the most sought-after visitor in the world, and will continue to be so for many years to come. This vast market sector is still at the very early stages of growth ... (and) 10 years from now all numbers will be significantly higher."

Explaining waterpark attendances, Robinett referred forecasts in last year's Theme Index that the industry in Asia would begin to outpace the industry in North America, stating that in the new report "(our) figures show that ... Asian attendance totals have for the first time surpassed those of North America. 

"The Asian water parks market showed 7.4% growth with total attendance at 16 million, about 1 million more than North America."

In waterparks, while Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, Florida is the world's most attended with 2,100,000 annual visits (a rise of 2% in 2012), 11 of the world's top 20 waterparks are in Asia.

In 2012, the attendances of the top 15 waterparks in Asia were:

1. Chimelong Waterpark, Guangzhou, China - 2,021,000 (up 6.4%)
2. Ocean World, South Korea - 1,720,000 (-0.3%)
3. Caribbean Bay, South Korea - 1,508,000 (up 0.7%)
4. Wet'n'Wild Waterworld, Gold Coast - 1,200,000 (static)
5. Sunway Lagoon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - 1,200,000 (up 15.4%)
6. Resom Spa Castle, Chungcheongnam-Do, South Korea - 1,158,000 (up 12%)
7. Atlantis, Jakarta, Indonesia - 1,000,000 (up 5.3%)
8. Summerland, Tokyo, Japan - 990,000 (up 13.1%)
9. Happy Magic Water Cube, Beijing, China - 968,000 (up 26%)
10. The Water Jungle Adventure, West Java, Indonesia - 951,000 (up 9.2%)
11. Ocean Park Water Adventure, Jakarta, Indonesia - 750,000 (up 25%)
12. Water Kingdom, Mumbai, India- 700,000 (-12.5%)
13. Resom Ocean Castle, Chungcheongnam-Do, South Korea - 638,000 (up 9.6%)
14. Olympic Water Cub Indoor Waterpark, Beijing, China - 605,000 (up 21%)
15. Seorak Waterpia, Gangwon-Do, South Korea - 590,000 (up 7.3%)

Explaining the factors driving the performance of Asian waterparks in 2012, Yoshi states "water parks require less initial investment than theme parks, attracting the interest of developers. 

"The popular indoor/outdoor facilities extend the season and provide more control over the environment. 

"Asians won't get into the water unless it is very warm.

"The water park experience in the US is very family oriented, kid-oriented. But in Asia, the typical water park visitors are young adults, often on a group outing: it's a day out with work colleagues, fellow students, or friends. There’s something of a crossover with the culture of spas and hot springs. 

"The settings tend to be more tranquil with premium elements available - food service, massages, concerts, entertainment: things that extend the average length of stay."

The Themed Entertainment Association, in partnership with the economics practice at AECOM, a global provider of technical-professional and management-support services, has released the 2012 Theme Park and Museum Index. The document shows attendance figures and trends at theme and waterparks in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, as well as museum attendance figures and trends in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Most of the top 25 theme parks in the world benefited from a 2% to 6% increase in attendance, while Asian water park attendance has surpassed North American water park attendance. 

Click here to read the full report released by the Economics practice at AECOM (formerly Economics Research Associates) and the TEA.







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