22 Aug 2019 Attractions Management Handbook
 

HOME
VIEW DIGITAL EDITION
CONTENTS
PROFILES
BUY HANDBOOK
JOBS
NEWS
PRODUCTS
ADVERTISE
CONTACT US
Sign up for FREE ezine
Current issue
Attractions Management Handbook
Current issue

View this issue online
Buy print edition
Download PDF

Previous issues
Attractions Management Handbook
2017/2018 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Download PDF
Attractions Management Handbook
2016/2017 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Download PDF
Attractions Management Handbook
2015 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Download PDF
Attractions Management Handbook
2014 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Download PDF
Attractions Management Handbook
2013 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Download PDF
Attractions Management Handbook
2012 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Download PDF
Attractions Management Handbook
2011 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Attractions Management Handbook
2010 issue

View issue contents
View this issue online
Attractions Management Handbook - Just the Ticket

Industry insights

Just the Ticket


Major theme park operators had an outstanding year, while some European waterparks enjoyed great success. The museum sector was a mixed bag, but saw strong performance in Asia and remarkable years for some institutions

Tom Anstey, Attractions Management
Walt Disney is the theme park leader, outperforming its nearest rival Merlin by nearly 90 million visitors
Minions are a big draw for Universal Studios Japan – the most visited non-Disney park on the list photo: ©shutterstock/gowithstock
Making its debut on the list is Orlando’s Volcano Bay, with Universal’s waterpark ranking sixth
Chimelong in China remains the world’s most-visited waterpark
Following its expansion and three major exhibitions, London’s V&A upped its attendance by a quarter
The newly opened Chengdu Museum in China entered the Index for the first time

Disney continues to reign supreme, gaining a 6.8 per cent increase in visitors – up to 150 million in 2017. Merlin came a distant second, upping its visitation year-on-year to 66 million, marking a 7.8 per cent increase. Universal rounded out the top three, with a 4.4 per cent increase of around two million visitors.

For the top 10 theme park groups overall, attendance growth rose by a combined 8.6 per cent to 475.8 million visitors. Fourth-placed OCT Parks China enjoyed the most significant growth, increasing visitation by 32.9 per cent to 42.9 million visitors – a staggering rise of 10.6 million people (Table 1).

For individual theme parks, Disney expectedly also sits on top of the pile, with the top three most-visited properties and eight of the top 10 attractions being Disney. The most-visited park, Magic Kingdom in Orlando, saw a slight increase of 0.3 per cent, while Disneyland in California enjoyed a 2 per cent rise and Tokyo Disneyland upped its visitor figures by 0.4 per cent in third place.

Outside of Disney, fourth-placed Universal Studios Japan saw its visitation rise by 3 per cent, with 14.9 million visitors in 2017. Universal Studios in Orlando also saw a slight rise of 2 per cent. Opening for the first time in 2016, Shanghai Disneyland has broken into the top 10, coming eighth with 11 million visitors in its first full year of operation.

Mainland China helped buoy the Asian region in attendance growth by 5.5 per cent. Many new parks, with Shanghai Disney leading the way, experienced double-digit growth year-on-year.

Overall, visitation rose to 134.2 million visitors in the Asia-Pacific region, though it wasn’t all plain sailing, as parks in Korea – particularly Lotte World and Samsung Everland – were hit hard owing to “geopolitical events that discouraged tourism from Mainland Chinese” – their key tourist demographic.

Waterpark attendance has now broken 30 million visitors among the world’s top 20, with particularly strong performance in some of Europe’s top waterparks. Across the world’s top 20 most-visited waterparks, attendance increased 1.6 per cent between 2016 and 2017 – breaking the 30 million visitor barrier for the first time in the AECOM report’s history.

Chimelong in China retains the title of world’s most-attended waterpark, with a 6 per cent increase year-on-year. Making its debut on the list is Orlando’s Volcano Bay, as the Universal waterpark ranked sixth with 1.5 million visitors in its first year. The largest attendance rise came for 16th-ranked Siam Park on the Canary Islands, which recorded a 20.9 per cent.

In Latin America, waterpark visits totalled 9.9 million visitors, raising expectations that 2018 will for the first time see that region cross over the 10 million mark. While there were increases at several properties in Brazil, the 2017 earthquake in Central Mexico led to declines, particularly for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec – a newly acquired and renovated waterpark operating in its inaugural season.

For the EMEA market, overall attendance was up 3.2 per cent, though visitation in the Middle East declined due to “the significant increase in competition for leisure time and spend” in the region, impacting across the board and felt by the region’s most-visited attraction, Dubai’s Aquaventure, falling 5.6 per cent.

Prague’s Aquapalace had an excellent year, increasing its attendance by 18.8 per cent and Therme Erding in Germany, Europe’s most-visited waterpark, enjoyed a 6 per cent rise.

The top 20 waterparks in the US suffered in 2017, with a 2.9 per cent decline, driven by lack of reinvestment combined with bad weather.

France’s museums have shown significant recovery following a tumultuous 2016. The Louvre reclaimed top spot as the world’s most-visited museum with a 9.5 per cent increase in visitor numbers. Similarly, the Musee D’Orsay experienced a significant recovery, with a 5.9 per cent increase in visitation.

Across the Channel its not been so rosy, with uncertainty over Brexit and renewed security concerns particularly affecting London, where four of the five museums making the top 20 suffered declines in visitation. Highest-ranked, the British Museum saw its numbers drop to 5.9 million in 2017, while the Tate Modern saw its visitor numbers drop 3.1 per cent and there was a 4.1 per cent decline at the Natural History Museum. Bucking the trend following its expansion and three major exhibitions, the V&A upped its attendance by a quarter.

Asia’s culture sector recorded the fastest growth worldwide, with an 11 per cent increase in visitation. China claimed seven of the top 20 museums worldwide. This strong performance has been fuelled by its “an emerging middle class with rising levels of education, cultural awareness and disposable income and exposure to global cultural trends”.

Margreet Papamichael, former Director, Economics, AECOM
Margreet Papamichael

Expectations for the Middle East were set really high and we can see now that they’ve not been met. I hope that overtime total tourism to that region will grow.

In Europe, we’ll see growth driven by investment, with additional hotel rooms added to attractions and new rides developed. Staging concerts and seasonal events is becoming more important.

The uniqueness of Europe’s waterparks is their mixture of indoor and outdoor facilities, including the focus on wellbeing. It’s a successful model we should export.

Exhibitions really drive museum attendance but there’s only so many brilliant exhibits you can have per annum.

Chris Yoshii, vice president of Asia-Pacific, AECOM
Chris Yoshii

We’ve forecast for several years that China would become the largest global theme park market by 2020. That’s still on track, especially with Universal Studios Beijing, among others, opening around that time.

The success of Shanghai Disney has been very encouraging, showing developers that they should invest in best-in-class projects, and the market will respond. Having a theme park is still seen as an important asset to a modern city in China, and we’re going to continue to see new projects and new announcements.

Florida is still the major hotbed with 75.6 million visitors to its six major parks. Japan comes next with 51 million visitors spread over four major operations.

John Robinett, senior vice president, economics, Americas, AECOM
John Robinett

The mega-destination that is Orlando saw major attractions open at Disney (Pandora – The World of Avatar) and Universal (Volcano Bay) in 2017. After a fairly flat 2016, the industry resumed its historic pace of growth in 2017 fueled by Disney, China, and Indoor Entertainment Centers.

China now generates about a quarter of the major operators’ overall attendance. Global attraction visitations to the major operators is almost half a billion a year.

Representing a third of North American attendance – exceeding 150 million visits for the first time – Orlando should continue to develop, with US$10bn of investment in future attractions, RDE and hotels slated for the next five years.


Originally published in Attractions Handbook 2018 edition

Published by The Leisure Media Company, Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | Advertise | © Cybertrek Ltd