16 Nov 2018 Attractions Management Handbook
 

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Attractions Management Handbook - Be Our Guest

Insights: AECOM Report

Be Our Guest


Disney dips, waterparks ride the wave and the world’s museums rally – Tom Anstey highlights the latest report’s key trends

Tom Anstey, Leisure Media
TEA /AECOM REPORT ©shutterstock/nicescene
Wizarding World boosted attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood ©AHHAA
Shanghai Disneyland recorded visitor numbers of 5.6 million during its debut year in mid-2016 ©DISNEY
Shanghai Disneyland recorded visitor numbers of 5.6 million during its debut year in mid-2016 ©DISNEY
A domestic tourism surge boosts visitor attendance in Brazil ©shutterstock/ChameleonsEye
Top spot for National Museum of China ©Xiao Xiao/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Visitor attendance to the Louvre dropped substantially in the wake of terrorist attacks ©shutterstock/pichetw

Theme Parks
Following a period of growth in 2015, the world’s top theme parks have experienced a mixed year, according to the latest edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index report.

For the world’s top 25 theme parks, attendance declined 1.1 per cent, down from 235.6 million visitors in 2015 to 233.1 million in 2016, with the top operator, Disney, telling a similar story.

Mouse trap?
Overall attendance at Disney attractions was actually up by 2.5 million, but largely as a result of the Shanghai Disneyland launch, which recorded visitor numbers of 5.6 million during its debut year.

Florida’s Magic Kingdom remains the world’s most visited park, with Disneyland California and Tokyo Disneyland in second and third place respectively. All three parks suffered attendance declines however, with respective drops of 0.5 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent.

For the year 2016 Magic Kingdom welcomed 20.4 million visitors, while Disneyland California drew 17.9 million and Tokyo Disneyland 16.5 million. Disney’s other parks included in the index all recorded attendance declines – the largest being Hong Kong Disneyland, which suffered a 10.3 per cent drop of 700,000 visitors with 6.1 million visitors.

Universal approval
Other operators have fared better than Disney, with Universal Studios recording attendance increases at all of its parks, buoyed by new attractions and IPs, including the continued phenomenal success of its Harry Potter worlds.

Universal Studios Japan was ranked fourth for attendance overall, with visitor numbers increasing from 13.9 million in 2015 to 14.5 million in 2016 – a 4.3 per cent rise.

Universal Studios in Orlando also saw its numbers surge by the same percentage, up from 9.6 million to 10 million. The neighbouring Island of Adventure park in Orlando increased numbers by 6.5 per cent from 8.8 million to 9.4 million during the period.

Universal Studios Hollywood launched its new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in April 2016, with the boy wizard’s magic spell once again driving park attendance – up 13.9 per cent to 8.1 million from 7.1 million year-on-year.

An eye on Asia
“Disney resources have lately been concentrated in Asia, with Shanghai Disney Resort having opened in mid-2016,” said Brian Sands, vice president of economics, The Americas, AECOM. “Meanwhile, Universal’s Harry Potter attractions have been a powerful draw in both Hollywood and Orlando. But Disney is delivering new IP magic all of its own in its North American parks, most notably Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as the redesigned and renamed Disney Springs retail-dining-entertainment area. For its part, Universal is also continuing to grow domestically, with its latest second gate in Orlando, Volcano Bay, having opened around the same time.”

Group dominance
For the world’s top 10 theme park groups, overall attendance was up 4.3 per cent, with numbers rising from 420.4 million in 2015 to 438.3 million in 2016.

Walt Disney Attractions holds a substantial lead over second-placed Merlin Entertainments, with 140.4 million visitors in 2016 for Disney’s parks versus 61.2 million for all Merlin’s theme parks worldwide. Universal Parks & Resorts came third with 47.35 million visitors.

Fantawild, which opened two theme parks in 2015, had the largest visitor increase with a 37 per cent jump to 31.7 million in 2016. Out of the top 10, SeaWorld and Parques Reunidos were the only two groups to record a decline, with respective drops of 2.1 and 6 per cent.

Water parks
Waterparks worldwide enjoyed a fruitful 2016, with combined attendance among the top 20 increasing to nearly 30 million. The sector performed particularly strongly in Asia, with 6.9 per cent overall growth in 2016.

Elsewhere, due to macroeconomic challenges, a boost in domestic tourism meant fewer Brazilians travelled to Orlando, a market that Florida has traditionally counted on for attendance. This loss has been Brazil’s gain, with the economic climate, combined with a facility expansion, driving Thermas Dos Laranjais to fourth rank. During 2016, visitor numbers to the waterpark rose 11.2 per cent to reach 1.96 million people. Similar attendance increases were seen at Brazil’s other listed waterparks, with 10th place Hot Park Rio Quente in Caldas Novas increasing attendance by 7.2 per cent to 1.38 million and 18th place Beach Park in Aquiraz increasing attendance by 7.6 per cent to 1.04 million.

Museums
Growth among the global top 20 museums rose by 1.2 per cent from 106.5 million visitors in 2015 to 107.8 million in 2016. Since the first Museum Index in 2012, attendance has risen 2-3 per cent, mainly in Asia.

“The US and European markets are mature, with approximately 1 per cent growth annually,” said the report. “In Asia, we have seen growth of 9 per cent annually over the past few years.”

Louvre loses top spot
The National Museum of China is now the world’s most-visited museum, displacing the Louvre in Paris, which suffered a 14.9 per cent attendance drop. Tourist numbers in France have suffered in the wake of terrorist attacks, marked by the attendance decline at the Louvre, dropping from 8.7 million in 2015 to 7.4 million in 2016, ranking it the world’s third-most visited museum. Similarly in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay experienced a double-digit attendance drop, falling 12.8 per cent to 3 million visitors, placing it outside of the top 20.

However, an increase of 3.6 per cent year-on-year meant that 7.55 million people visited the National Museum of China, narrowly edging out the 7.5 million people who visited the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

Read the full TEA/AECOM Index here: www.teaconnect.org

Table 1:

Top 10 Theme Park Groups Worldwide

 



Table 1
Table 2:

Top 25 Theme Parks Worldwide

 



Table 2
Table 3:

Top 20 Waterparks Worldwide

 



Table 3
Table 4:

Top 20 Museums Worldwide

 



Table 4

Originally published in Attractions Handbook 2017 issue 1

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