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Wet’n'Wild in Top 10 of World Waterparks

Wet’n'Wild in Top 10 of World Waterparks
September 10, 2009

Wet'n'Wild WaterWorld on the Gold Coast was the world's seventh most popular waterpark, with 1.25 million visits, in 2008 according to the Themed Entertainment Association and Economics Research Associates.

The recently received Themed Entertainment Association/Economics Research Associates (TEA/ERA) 2008 Report identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance in 2008.

As TEA President Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates explains, "theme park and amusement park operators, developers, vendors, consultants, designers, and others in the visitor attractions industry need good information to build their businesses and make balanced decisions – now more than ever."

While many US and European attractions showed declines in 2008, Asia and China in particular, are identified as bright spots with growing economies and expanding middle classes.

The report suggests the region is very far from saturated and its performance is different from more mature markets.

As Christian Aaen, Managing Director of ERA’s new office in Hong Kong explains "there is lots of activity in theme parks, resorts, cultural facilities and other entertainment in Greater China, and the country’s economy, which has been growing by double digits since the early 1990s, is still projected to grow 6-8% this year.

"There is a lot of development in the pipeline in Asia, including Legoland Malaysia, announced recently with a target opening in 2012, the Universal theme park on Sentosa Island opening in early 2010, and new KidZania attractions opening in Japan and Korea and planned elsewhere in Asia.”

Among global waterparks, those in the Asia-Pacific ranked highly by global standards. These included: Chimelong Water Park in WaterWorld in Guangzhou, China ranked third with 1,600,000 visits; Caribbean Bay at Everland Resort, Gyeonggi-do, Korea ranked fourth with 1,500,0007; Sunway Lagoon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ranked sixth with 1,100,002 visits; Ocean World at Gangwon-do, Korea ranked ninth with 900,000 visits and Summerland, Tokyo, Japan ranked tenth with 898,000 visits. Dubai waterpark Wild Wadi ranked 12th with 825,000 visits in 2008.

In its analysis of regional theme parks the report highlighted, according to ERA Director David Camp that in the Middle East, "most projects in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates have been stopped due to the global economic downturn. This is something of a blessing in disguise. Initial plans were probably too aggressive and likely to have led to an oversupply. The ultimate result will likely be more aligned with market realities.” 

In East Asia, ERA's Aaen explained that "in Japan, the Tokyo Disneyland Resort’s two parks achieved an impressive record season of 26.8 million due to the strong impact of Tokyo Disneyland’s 25th anniversary celebration events, new attractions and effective regional marketing despite the economic downturn. Ocean Park in Hong Kong continued its stellar performance, exceeding last year’s record attendance up 2.2% to above 5 million, fueled by ‘Year of the Panda’ and five effective seasonal events. Hong Kong saw continued growth in tourism from Mainland China despite some visa restrictions and other impacts on travel. Hong Kong Disneyland is re-bounding from the last couple of years’ lower than expected attendance, up almost 8% to 4.5 million. Lotte World reopened in Seoul this year after having been closed six months for improvements. China’s Happy Valley chain of regional parks continues to expand and do well.

“Most operators in Asia are cautiously optimistic for 2009. With the continued strong growth of the middle class in China and fundamentals in other markets, we expect significant development opportunities for the leisure and tourism industry in Asia, driven by Greater China.”

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is an international non-profit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Califronia. TEA represents some 7,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 600 firms in 30 US states and 40 different countries.

Over 50 years, Economics Research Associates (ERA) has built a diverse, global consulting business. The firm now has about 120 employees in 9 offices. We have completed nearly 18,000 assignments. In late 2007, ERA joined the AECOM family of companies. AECOM is a global leader in professional and management services involving all aspects of the built and natural environment. Its various operating companies generate over $4 billion in annual revenues and employ more than 43,000 people around the world, dramatically expanding ERA’s reach and service capability. ERA recently opened new offices in Hong Kong.

For more information go to

Image: Wet'n'Wild WaterWorld.

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