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Global Study Shows Resilience in the Theme Park Industry

April 29, 2010

The world's top 25 theme parks recorded 185 million visits in 2009, a decline of 0.3% from 2008, according to a study released by the Economics practice at AECOM (formerly Economics Research Associates) and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

Visitation dropped at top Asian and US theme parks, was flat in Europe and attendance rose at top Mexican and Latin American parks.

The top 20 waterparks worldwide hosted 20.7 million visitors, an increase of 2.1% over 2008.

The figures within the 2009 TEA/AECOM Attraction Attendance Report show that the international theme park and visitor attractions industry is coming off a challenging year due to the global economic recession. TEA/AECOM also believe that the figures reflect the resilience and creativity of the industry and show the way to future growth. Under the circumstances, in 2009 the major parks did remarkably well.

As TEA President Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates explains "the international theme park and visitor attractions industry is coming off a challenging year due to the global economic recession.

"The figures within the 2009 TEA/AECOM Attraction Attendance Report reflect that. But they also reflect the resilience and creativity of the industry and show us the way to future growth. Under the circumstances, in 2009 the major parks did remarkably well."

In 2009, most of the top theme parks and leisure destinations saw either flat attendance or a decline. This was due in large part to reduced spending and travel by consumers reacting to the recession, along with the effects of the H1N1 flu virus.

Ray Braun, Senior Vice President, AECOM, and head of its Entertainment and Recreation Economics operation added "most parks felt the impact of the deepest recession since the Great Depression."

The strategies employed by theme parks to sustain numbers and make the best of a troubled situation underscore the basic fundamentals of good business in the visitor attractions industry: reinvestment in the guest experience, creative targeted marketing and building the relationship with the customer.

The TEA/AECOM Attraction Attendance Report identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance for the previous year. Global attendance data are broken down by geographic region, by chain and by type of venue.

Among the world's Top 25 theme parks, seven are in Asia with Japan's Tokyo Disneyland ranked third and attracting 13,646,000 visitors in 2009, a drop of 4.5% and Tokyo Disney Sea the world's fifth most visited park with 12,004,000 (a drop of 4% in 2009).

10 of the world's top 20 most visited water parks are in Asia with Chimelong Water Park in Guangzhou, China ranked third with 1,800,000 visitors in 2009 - a rise of 12.5%.

Wet 'n' Wild Water World on the Gold Coast is the world eighth most visited waterpark with 1,095,000 visitors in 2009, a rise of 6.8% in 2009.

The full report can be viewed via the Themed Entertainment Association's website at www.themeit.com/etea/2009report.pdf 

25th January 2010 - IAAPA TAKES SAFETY EDUCATION ON THE ROAD IN 2010 

10th September 2009 - WET’N'WILD IN TOP 10 OF WORLD WATERPARKS


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