22 May 2018 Attractions Management Handbook
 

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Attractions Management Handbook - EIS Standing Strong

IAAPA

EIS Standing Strong


Karen Staley summarises the economic impact of attractions and theme parks in Europe

Karen Staley, IAAPA Europe, Middle East and Africa
The Wildwasserbahn family water ride at Heide Park Resort in Germany
Disneyland Paris is the most visited theme park resort in both France and Europe
Gold River Hotel at PortAventura facilitates the theme park to benefit from longer visitor stays
The Kung Fu Panda Academy is the latest attraction to open at Gardaland in Italy

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Europe, Middle East and Africa (IAAPA EMEA) has just completed its third Economic Impact of Attractions in EMEA (EIS EMEA) study based on 2014 data – building on the previous two studies (2012 and 2008).

All three studies have covered European Union countries plus Norway and Switzerland, but the most recent study also includes Turkey. In addition, the 2012 and 2014 studies considered the economic impact of the broader attractions industry in Europe.

EXPEND and ATTEND
This year, the study aimed to identify and quantify the attendance and onsite visitor expenditure for the attraction sectors covered – and then applied gross type II multipliers to assess the level of indirect and induced economic impact generated by the direct onsite expenditure impact.

For theme and amusement parks, the analysis included a survey taken from a sample of small, medium and large parks. The provision of operating performance data by these parks in support of this study shows their commitment to IAAPA EMEA’s lobbying activities on their behalf.

Selected Euromonitor Country reports were then used to estimate theme and amusement park attendance and direct revenues as a proportion of total attractions’ attendance and revenues for each of the European countries included in the study. These findings were used to gross up the study’s estimates for the theme and amusement parks to arrive at totals for the wider attractions industry.

As shown in Table 1, the attractions industry is estimated to have generated nearly 1.9 billion visits in 2014, with an associated €21bn (US$23.8bn, £18bn) of direct revenues and a total economic impact of nearly €43bn (US$48.8bn, £37bn). Theme and amusement parks accounted for less than 10 per cent of the total attractions’ attendance but a quarter of total revenues. This reflects the nature of parks, which typically have a full day length of stay, supporting higher admission prices and greater opportunities for onsite spending.

In addition to the economic impact of spending by visitors whilst at the attractions, additional economic benefit is also generated for the European economy through expenditure by visitors travelling to and from the attractions.

The 2008 study identified that theme and amusement parks in Europe had a combined total economic impact of €8.6m (US$9.7m, £7.4m), which has since grown substantially (see Table 2). Between 2008 and 2012 the economic impact of theme and amusement parks grew by just under 17 per cent. By 2014 the economic impact is estimated to have grown by a further five per cent. The sector is relatively mature in much of Europe and the number of parks is estimated to have remained stable at 307, with a few new parks opening but a similar number of parks closing.

Revenues are estimated to have grown at a faster rate than attendance. In general the number of full time equivalent (FTE) jobs also grew over the period, but the total growth rate has been depressed by a small proportion of the sample. More detailed results, including country-specific data, can be found in the full report: IAAPA Europe: an assessment of economic impact of onsite visitor spending at European attractions (2014).

BENCHING THE FINANCES
The sample of theme and amusement parks taking part in the 2014 EIS survey were also given the opportunity to participate in IAAPA Europe’s first Financial Benchmarking Study. Half of the sample signed up, providing a broad range of parks, including some of Europe’s largest theme and amusement parks (with an average attendance of 1.7 million visits in 2014). The study included benchmarks on visitor income, other income sources, staff numbers and marketing spend. Selected top line results from the survey are shown in Table 3. The participants were provided with a confidential report setting out the results for all of the benchmark and an accompanying commentary on the findings, together with their own individual results.

IAAPA EMEA aims to grow the number of benchmarks covered by the Financial Benchmarking Study over time, to include benchmarks on areas such as operating costs and onsite accommodation in future surveys. IAAPA EMEA is keen to build on the studies completed to date with further benchmarking research to support their members and help them compare their site’s operating performance with industry averages and is currently working on a programme of research for 2017 and future years.

Table 1

European attraction industry impacts, 2014

 


Table 2

Theme and amusement park impacts, 2014 compared with 2012

 


Table 3

IAAPA EMEA FB 2014

 



About the author

 

Karen Staley
 

Karen Staley is senior vice president of IAAPA Europe, Middle East and Africa. IAAPA provides members with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the attractions business.

www.iaapa.org



Originally published in Attractions Handbook 2016 issue 1

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