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2015

Global
Attractions
Attendance
Report

2015

COVER: ©Magic Kingdom
at Walt Disney World®,
Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.

CREDITS

TEA/AECOM 2015 Theme Index and Museum Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report
Publisher: Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)
Research: Economics practice at AECOM
Editor: Judith Rubin

Publication team: Tsz Yin (Gigi) Au, Beth Chang, Linda Cheu, Bethanie Finney, Kathleen LaClair,
Jodie Lock, Sarah Linford, Erik Miller, Jennie Nevin, Margreet Papamichael, Jeff Pincus,
John Robinett, Judith Rubin, Brian Sands, Will Selby, Matt Timmins, Feliz Ventura, Chris Yoshii
©2016 TEA/AECOM. All rights reserved.
CONTACTS

For further information about the contents of this report and about the Economics practice at
AECOM, contact the following:
John Robinett
Senior Vice President, Americas
john.robinett@aecom.com
T +1 213 593 8785

Chris Yoshii
Vice President, Asia-Pacific
chris.yoshii@aecom.com
T +852 3922 9000

Brian Sands, AICP
Vice President, Americas
brian.sands@aecom.com
T +1 202 821 7281

Margreet Papamichael
Director, EMEA
margreet.papamichael@aecom.com
T +44 20 3009 2283

Linda Cheu
Vice President, Americas
linda.cheu@aecom.com
T +1 415 955 2928

aecom.com/economics

For information about TEA (Themed Entertainment Association):
Judith Rubin
TEA Publications, PR & Social Media
judy@teaconnect.org
T +1 314 853 5210
teaconnect.org

Jennie Nevin
TEA Chief Operating Officer
jennie@teaconnect.org
T +1 818 843 8497

2015

2015

The definitive annual attendance study
for the themed entertainment and
museum industries.

Published by the Themed Entertainment
Association (TEA) and the Economics
practice at AECOM.

Global
Attractions
Attendance
Report

3

CONTENTS
THE BIG PICTURE

6

2015 THEME INDEX
The Americas

Asia-Pacific

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

© Aquaventure Water Park,
Dubai, U.A.E.
4

22
22

42

52

2015 MUSEUM INDEX
The Americas
Asia-Pacific

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

64
72
74
76

ABOUT THIS STUDY

Methodology and evolution of the TEA/
AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index
Frequently Asked Questions
About TEA and AECOM

78
78
78
82

5

THE BIG
PICTURE

5.4%

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth worldwide
2014–15

235.6m

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
worldwide attendance 2015

7.2%

Top 10 theme park groups
worldwide attendance
growth 2014–15
6

John Robinett
Senior Vice President,
Economics, Americas

It is the 10 year anniversary of the TEA/
AECOM Theme Index, and what a year it
has been. The top attraction operators
saw growth of over 7%, with the Top 25
theme parks achieving over 5% growth
— tremendous numbers for a relatively
mature industry. Over our 10 years
of tracking the industry we have seen
steady improvements in business volume,
despite a global recession, introduction of
exciting new technologies, and continued
internationalization of the attractions world.
This year, global theme park attendance
was driven largely by strong performance
of the major Asian and U.S. operators,
including Chimelong, SongCheng, Disney
and Universal. Water parks saw healthy
attendance improvements of almost 4% with
most markets doing well. Finally, museums,
while having a few standouts with double
digit growth such as the Hermitage in Russia,
and the Shanghai Science and Technology
Museum, held steady overall.
So what specific changes have occurred
in the business over the last 10 years?
Three areas stand out — Industry volume,
distribution, and ownership.

© The Wizarding World of
Harry Potter™, Universal
Studios Japan®, Osaka, Japan
7

Same Parks versus Top 25 Parks

Same parks
250M
200M

Attendance

As you can see opposite, industry
volume as measured by theme park
attendance has grown steadily, both
organically and through new park
additions. Attendance at the top 25
parks grew from 187 M in 2006 to 236
M in 2015, with a 2.6% annual growth
rate. At the 18 parks that were in the
list continuously over this period,
attendance grew from 151 M in 2006,
to 192 M in 2015, equal to a 2.7%
growth rate.

Top 25 parks

150M
100M
50M
0

0

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Shares of Global Attendance by Region
The geographic distribution
of attractions has moved
east across the globe with
Asia‑Pacific now capturing 42%
of the world’s major attractions,
up from 35% 10 years ago.

2005
2015

North America

EMEA
2005
13%

2005
52%

2015
11%

2015
47%

Asia-Pacific

2005
35%

2015
42%

Major Parks' Share of Global Attendance
And with regard to ownership,
while the industry has certainly
welcomed a number of high
quality new operators, market
share has actually consolidated
under the two majors, Disney
and Universal.

30%
13%

2005

29%
57%

17%

2015

55%

Disney

Universal

Other Top
25 parks

It has been a good decade overall, and we look
forward to what the next one will bring.
8

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

RANK

GROUP

%
CHANGE

TOP 10
THEME PARK GROUPS
WORLDWIDE

1

WALT DISNEY ATTRACTIONS

3

UNIVERSAL PARKS AND RESORTS

11.8% 44,884,000 40,152,000

SIX FLAGS INC.

11.4% 28,557,000 25,638,000

CHIMELONG GROUP

26.4% 23,587,000 18,659,000

2

4

5

6

7

8

9

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS GROUP
OCT PARKS CHINA

CEDAR FAIR ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
FANTAWILD (NEW)

SEAWORLD PARKS & ENTERTAINMENT

10 SONGCHENG WORLDWIDE

TOP 10 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 10 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

7.2%

Top 10 theme park groups
worldwide attendance
growth 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

420.4m

Top 10 theme park groups
worldwide attendance 2015

2.7% 137,902,000 134,330,000

0.2% 62,900,000 62,800,000

7.8% 30,180,000 27,990,000

4.9% 24,448,000 23,305,000

77.4% 23,093,000 13,020,000

0.3% 22,471,000 22,399,000

53.4% 22,338,000 14,560,000
420,360,000 382,853,000

7.2% 392,039,000

392.0m

Top 10 theme park groups
worldwide attendance 2014

9

TOP 25
AMUSEMENT/THEME PARKS
WORLDWIDE

THE NETHERLANDS
1 PARK

24

FRANCE
1 PARK

22

12

8

1 PARK

3

4

CALIFORNIA, U.S.
3 PARKS

FLORIDA, U.S.
7 PARKS

Up to 5m

5­–10m

Growth 2006–15
10m­­­­–15m

Key

6

7

5

11

15m+

21

GERMANY

1
2

10

1

10

18

Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

9

2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
2014–15
2006–15

-10%

0%

3.8%
5.2%
4.3%
4.1%
5.4%
+10%

26.3%
+20%

+30%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

23

16

DENMARK
1 PARK

CHINA
3 PARKS

25

SOUTH KOREA

14

2 PARKS

13

17

20
3
5

HONG KONG
2 PARKS

19

15

4

JAPAN
4 PARKS

5.4%

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth worldwide
2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

235.6m

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
worldwide attendance 2015

223.5m

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
worldwide attendance 2014

11

1

MAGIC KINGDOM at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.

3

TOKYO DISNEYLAND, Tokyo, Japan

2

4

5

6

7
8
9

DISNEYLAND, Anaheim, CA, U.S.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN, Osaka, Japan
TOKYO DISNEY SEA, Tokyo, Japan

EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.
DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM
at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.

DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.
DISNEYLAND PARK AT DISNEYLAND PARIS,
Marne-la-Vallée, France

10 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS at Universal Orlando, FL, U.S.
11 DISNEY'S CA ADVENTURE, Anaheim, CA, U.S.

12 ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE at Universal Orlando, FL, U.S.
13 CHIMELONG OCEAN KINGDOM, Hengqin, China

26.3%

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth worldwide
2006–15

12

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

RANK

PARK
Location

%
CHANGE

TOP 25
AMUSEMENT/THEME PARKS
WORLDWIDE

6.0% 20,492,000 19,332,000

9.0% 18,278,000 16,769,000

-4.0% 16,600,000 17,300,000

17.8% 13,900,000 11,800,000

-3.5% 13,600,000 14,100,000

3.0% 11,798,000 11,454,000

5.0% 10,922,000 10,402,000
5.0% 10,828,000 10,312,000
4.2% 10,360,000

9,940,000

16.0%

9,585,000

8,263,000

8.0%

8,792,000

8,141,000

7.0%

36.0%

9,383,000

7,486,000

8,769,000

5,504,000

186.5m

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
worldwide attendance 2006

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

7,423,000

7,381,000

-3.9%

7,310,000

7,606,000

-5.2%

17 HANGZHOU SONGCHENG PARK, Hangzhou, China

25.5%

19 HONG KONG DISNEYLAND, Hong Kong SAR

-9.3%

21 EUROPA-PARK, Rust, Germany

10.0%

18 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, Universal City, CA, U.S.
20 NAGASHIMA SPA LAND, Kuwana, Japan
22 SEAWORLD FL, Orlando, FL, U.S.

23 TIVOLI GARDENS, Copenhagen, Denmark

24 DE EFTELING, Kaatsheuvel, The Netherlands

25 SONGCHENG LIJIANG ROMANCE PARK, Lijiang, China
TOP 25 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 25 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

5.4%

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth worldwide
2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

235.6m

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
worldwide attendance 2015

ATTENDANCE
2014

0.6%

15 OCEAN PARK, Hong Kong SAR

16 LOTTE WORLD, Seoul, South Korea

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK

14 EVERLAND, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

4.0%

4.3%

2.0%

5.7%

6.4%

170.4%

7,387,000

7,289,000

7,097,000

6,800,000

5,870,000

5,500,000

4,777,000

4,733,000

4,680,000

4,678,000

7,792,000

5,810,000

6,824,000

7,500,000

5,630,000

5,000,000

4,683,000

4,478,000

4,400,000

1,730,000

235,568,000 220,920,000

5.4% 223,450,000

223.5m

Top 25 amusement/theme parks
worldwide attendance 2014

13

TOP 20
WATER PARKS
WORLDWIDE
GERMANY
10
6

TEXAS, U.S.
1 PARK

2

FLORIDA, U.S.

4

1 PARK

12 15

4 PARKS

3

17

COLOMBIA

2 PARKS

THE BAHAMAS
1 PARK

1

3

19

19

11
5

14

3 PARKS

Up to 1m

Growth 2010–15
1m–2m

2m+

Key

BRAZIL

Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
2014–15
2010–15

-10%

0%

8.2%
5.4%
7.1%
2.8%
3.7%
+10%

29%
+20%

+30%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

18

CZECH REPUBLIC
1 PARK

14

CHINA

7

2 PARKS

9

U.A.E.

1

1 PARK

MALAYSIA
1 PARK

8

SOUTH KOREA
2 PARKS

16

INDONESIA
1 PARK

19

AUSTRALIA
1 PARK

3.7%

Top 20 water parks attendance
growth worldwide 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

28.7m

Top 20 water parks worldwide
attendance 2015

13

27.6m

Top 20 water parks worldwide
attendance 2014

15

1

CHIMELONG WATER PARK, Guangzhou, China

4.1%

2,352,000

2,259,000

2,107,000

2,007,000

2

TYPHOON LAGOON AT DISNEY WORLD, Orlando, FL, U.S.

5.0%

2,294,000

4

BAHAMAS AQUAVENTURE WATER PARK, Paradise Island
(Nassau, New Providence), Bahamas

1.0%

1,868,000

3

5
6
7
8
9

BLIZZARD BEACH AT DISNEY WORLD, Orlando, FL, U.S.

2,185,000
1,850,000

THERMAS DOS LARANJAIS, Olimpia, Brazil

-9.2%

1,761,000

1,939,000

OCEAN WORLD, Gangwon-Do, South Korea

-5.9%

1,509,000

1,604,000

AQUAVENTURE WATER PARK, Dubai, U.A.E.

0.0%

AQUATICA, Orlando, FL, U.S.

CARIBBEAN BAY, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

10 WET 'N WILD, Orlando, FL, U.S.

16

5.0%

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

RANK

PARK
Location

TOP 20
WATER PARKS
WORLDWIDE

2.0%

-4.0%
2.0%

1,600,000
1,434,000
1,400,000
1,310,000

1,569,000
1,493,000
1,400,000
1,284,000

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

0.0%

12 THERME ERDING, Erding, Germany

23.5%

14 SHENYANG ROYAL OCEAN PARK WATER WORLD,
Fushun, China

-1.9%

13 WET 'N' WILD GOLD COAST, Gold Coast, Australia

15 TROPICAL ISLANDS, Krausnick, Germany

16 SUNWAY LAGOON, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
17 SCHLITTERBAHN, New Braunfels, TX, U.S.
18 AQUAPALACE, Prague, Czech Republic

19 ATLANTIS WATER ADVENTURE, Jakarta, Indonesia
BEACH PARK, Aquiraz, Brazil

PISCILAGO, Girardo (Bogotá), Colombia

TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

3.7%

Top 20 water parks attendance
growth worldwide 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

28.7m

Top 20 water parks worldwide
attendance 2015

0.0%

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK

11 HOT PARK RIO QUENTE, Caldas Novas, Brazil

1,288,000

1,288,000

1,200,000

1,200,000

1,235,000
1,150,000

1,000,000
1,172,000

10.0%

1,100,000

1,000,000

0.0%

1,037,000

1,037,000

-2.1%

18.0%
1.0%

2.2%

-4.7%
3.7%

1,077,000
997,000
970,000

970,000
970,000

1,100,000
845,000
960,000

949,000

1,018,000

28,659,000 28,141,000
27,627,000

27.6m

Top 20 water parks worldwide
attendance 2014

17

TOP 20
MUSEUMS
WORLDWIDE

6 MUSEUMS

NEW YORK, NY, U.S.

2 MUSEUMS

12

6

PARIS, FRANCE

2 MUSEUMS

WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.

4 MUSEUMS

18

LONDON, U.K.

15
14

3

13

17

20

11

5
9

1

1

3

3

18

Up to 2.5m

2.5m–5m

Growth 2012–15
5m–7.5m­

7.5m+

Key
Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

7.2%

2012–13
1.6%

2013–14
-0.7%
-5%

2014–15
0%

+5%

+10%

+15%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

16

7

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
1 MUSEUM

VATICAN CITY

19

1 MUSEUM

SHANGHAI, CHINA
1 MUSEUM

-0.7%

Top 20 museums attendance
growth worldwide 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

2

8

106.5m

Top 20 museums worldwide
attendance 2015

10

BEIJING, CHINA
2 MUSEUMS

TAIPEI, TAIWAN
1 MUSEUM

107.3m

Top 20 museums worldwide
attendance 2014

19

FREE/PAID

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

RANK

MUSEUM
Location

TOP 20
MUSEUMS
WORLDWIDE

1

LOUVRE, Paris, France

-6.5%

8,700,000

9,300,000 Paid

3

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY,
Washington, DC, U.S.

-5.5%

6,900,000

7,300,000 Free

2

5

6
7
8

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CHINA, Beijing, China

-4.5%

3.0%

6,900,000

6,700,000 Free

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART,
New York, NY, U.S.

1.9%

1.6%

6,821,000

6,695,000 Free

-2.8%

6,002,000
5,948,000

4,220,000 Paid

-7.9%

5,908,000

6,417,000 Free

BRITISH MUSEUM, London, U.K.

VATICAN MUSEUMS, Vatican, Vatican City

40.9%

10 NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM (TAIWAN), Taipei, Taiwan

-2.1%

20

7,630,000 Free

NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM ,
Washington, DC, U.S.

SHANGHAI SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM,
Shanghai, China

9

7,290,000

NATIONAL GALLERY, London, U.K.

6,300,000

5,288,000

6,200,000 Paid
6,177,000 Paid

5,402,000 Paid

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

12 AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY,
New York, NY, U.S.
13 TATE MODERN, London, U.K.

14 NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, Washington, DC, U.S.
15 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY,
Washington, DC, U.S.
16 STATE HERMITAGE, St Petersburg, Russia
17 MUSÉE D'ORSAY, Paris, France

18 VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM, London, U.K.
19 CHINA SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM,
Beijing, China

20 SCIENCE MUSEUM (SOUTH KENSINGTON),
London, U.K.
TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

-0.7%

Top 20 museums attendance
growth worldwide 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

106.5m

Top 20 museums worldwide
attendance 2015

FREE/PAID

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

MUSEUM
Location

RANK

11 NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, London, U.K.

-1.9%

5,284,000

5,388,000 Free

-18.5%

4,713,000

5,785,000 Free

2.5%

4,100,000

4,000,000 Free

0.0%

5.4%

5,000,000

4,104,000

5,000,000 Paid

3,892,000 Free

12.9%

3,668,000

3,248,000 Paid

7.9%

3,432,000

3,180,000 Free

-1.2%

4.4%
0.0%

-0.7%

3,440,000

3,360,000
3,356,000

3,481,000 Paid

3,218,000 Paid

3,356,000 Free

106,514,000 106,589,000
107,300,000

107.3m

Top 20 museums worldwide
attendance 2014

21

THE AMERICAS

5.9%

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth North America
2014–15

146.3m

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
North America attendance 2015

1.0%

Top 10 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth Latin America
2014–15
22

Remarkable growth
in theme parks and
water parks
Brian Sands
Vice President,
Economics, The
Americas

© Bootleggers Run,
Splish Splash Water Park,
Calverton, NY, U.S.

North American theme parks — up 5.9%
Last year we said everything was looking
good in the Americas and poised for
moderate growth — but 2015 blew the roof
off moderate. This market did really well.
In theme parks, not only did the two top
operators, Disney and Universal, both excel,
the North American market as a whole did
well, too. How well? Over the last couple
years, the aggregate increase of the 20 top
performing theme parks in North America
was between 2% and 3.5% — good, steady,
moderate growth. But it positively leapt
beyond that in 2015 to an impressive 5.9%
— almost three times the number for 2014.
Disney was up 6% in attendance and alone
accounted for nearly 40% of the growth
by the top six operators in the U.S. (Disney,
Universal, Sea World, Six Flags, Cedar Fair,
and Merlin) — that’s massive. Universal was
up by a little over 9%, accounting for 18%
of the top operators’ attendance growth.
But some of the regional chains also turned
in impressive numbers. Six Flags was up a
remarkable 11% and accounted for 22% of
the top operators’ growth. Cedar Fair was
also up 4.9%, and Merlin was up 15%, albeit
from a relatively low base in North America.

23

From the perspective of a decade, the
10‑year growth in this market is 22% —
from about 120 M visits in pre-recession
2006, to more than 146 M in post-recession
2015, and including the low point of 2009.
North America’s 5.9% stands up well even
in the face of fast growing Asia, where the
top performing parks were up 6.9% in 2015.
IP and the immersion factor
What were some primary factors?
Intellectual property (IP) was a big one.
Universal’s numbers continue to be driven
primarily by Harry Potter at Universal

Magic Kingdom, © Walt Disney World®,
Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.

24

Orlando. Next year we’ll see what the IP
has done for Universal Hollywood, as well
as how Universal begins to leverage its
acquisition of DreamWorks.
With Disney, it’s a combination of
continuing to do many things well and the
anticipation factor of Star Wars. We expect
to see Disney realize many opportunities
to satisfy guests over the next few years
as Star Wars attractions, Star Wars lands
and Star Wars character interactions unfold
— and even before that happens, they’re
making the most of the anticipation with
walk-throughs, stage shows, Jedi training
camp and, naturally, retail — plenty of retail.

Flight of the Hippogriff™, © Universal Studios,
Universal Orlando, FL, U.S.

Visitation to Orlando has reportedly more than
doubled over the past 20 years, growing from
32.4 M in 1995 to 66.1 M in 2015.
Themed and branded experiences
are becoming ever more immersive,
comprehensive, complete, and intimate
from the guest’s experience, starting online,
extending to their approach to the park, the
park itself obviously, and then again after
the park via online communications. All of
this translates to a better guest experience,
longer stays, more repeat visits and more
per cap spending.
Good rides and smart business
Good rides and good marketing continue
to prove their worth at all parks. The healthy
attendance increase posted by Six Flags
parks owes a lot to both; keeping regional
markets and local fan base happy with new,

high-tech rides such as Justice League,
which features DC Comics characters;
with exciting new roller coasters and other
improvements, plus discounts to encourage
purchase of annual passes. Cedar Fair had
similar success via such new attractions as
Iron Reef at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Catering to destination tourism as well as
regional markets pays off. Orlando’s tourism
numbers were strong — they didn’t fall off
even though Latin America was hurting
economically and more Latin Americans
stayed home in 2015. In fact, visitation
to Orlando has reportedly more than
doubled over the past 20 years, growing
from 32.4 M in 1995 to 66.1 M in 2015,
solidifying Orlando's position as the most
25

visited destination in the nation, thanks
undoubtedly to the large and continued
investments made in its theme parks,
resorts, and related amenities.
Beyond attendance, the parks are simply
doing smarter business, leaving less money
on the table through variable pricing,
better retail offerings that make shopping
and dining an extension of the branded
experience, and through embracing the
integrated resort model of operation —
reinforcing immersion. So even when
attendance is flat, per caps revenue can
be strong.
At SeaWorld parks, 2015 attendance
numbers were basically flat, up 0.3% total,
driven by mixed performance across their
portfolio. Since taking the helm about a year
ago, CEO Joel Manby, who has a strong
track record from his years at the head of
Herschend Family Entertainment, has put
together a strong team and begun visibly

The New Revolution Virtual Reality Coaster, ©
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA, U.S.

26

addressing the challenges. Integrated
resorts are on the drawing board for
SeaWorld’s future.
The resort model
The integrated resort reinforces the
immersion factor by encouraging guests
to remain in the operator’s territory,
within the experience bubble. Extend the
stay, keep the revenue, serve up a more
unified experience to the guest — that’s a
win‑win‑win that transforms a theme park or
a water park into a multi-day destination, and
has a ripple economic effect in the region.
Disney has long been a major resort
operator with tremendous revenue, an
unbeatable lifestyle brand and an expanding
portfolio of leisure offerings. Looking
regionally and sub-regionally, some of the
smaller operators have also practiced this
for a while to good effect. Examples include
Herschend’s offerings in the Pigeon Forge,

© Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH, U.S.

TN area around Dollywood, as well as what
Merlin Entertainments has been doing to
leverage the popular LEGO IP, having added
both a LEGOLAND park and a hotel near
Orlando, a second hotel at LEGOLAND
Carlsbad and looking at additional hospitality
elements. Merlin is also considering new
lodging types for its Orlando park.
The challenge is keeping the balance of
elements — lodging, retail, dining and
entertainment. Oversize the lodging
product and the whole project suffers.
On the other hand, create a compelling
multi-day experience, single or multigated, with well‑designed retail, dining and
entertainment, and lodging that allows
access to the park as well as separation

6.0%

Magic Kingdom at Walt
Disney World, attendance
growth 2014–15

from those park guests not staying at the
lodging, and you can achieve the holy grail
of success. We’re seeing Universal move
into that space in a big way: in Orlando
having opened Cabana Bay, and opening
Sapphire Falls this year and Volcano Bay
next year — getting in on the water park
side. Tourists coming in for a week or more
are looking for a range of experiences.
Helping to diversify the offering for tourists
in Orlando and to grow its presence in
the market, Merlin opened The Orlando
Eye observation experience, a SEA LIFE
Aquarium, and a Madame Tussauds,
thereby anchoring the new I Drive 360
retail‑dining‑entertainment (RDE) center
on International Drive.

16.0%

Universal Studios at
Universal Orlando,
attendance growth 2014–15

8.0%

Cedar Point, Sandusky,
attendance growth 2014–15

27

North American water parks — up 4.3%
Overall, water park attendance numbers in
North America were also up significantly
in 2015 for the Top 20 facilities —
at 4.3%, nearly tripling the growth rate
in 2014 numbers — a remarkably strong
showing after the past two years’ flat to
negative numbers.
Looking back at attendance over a 10‑year
period for this market shows growth from
slightly under 12 M to nearly 14 M, an
increase of 17% for the decade. (Last year
we began tabulating for the Top 20 but that’s
taken into account here.) Although that’s
not quite as much as the 22% growth over
the equivalent period in North America’s top
theme parks, it’s very good.
Driving 2015 growth for North American
water parks were several with particularly
healthy increases, including Typhoon
Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, both up 5%

(around 100,000 each), benefiting from
overall growth of the Orlando market. Also
showing strong growth were Splish Splash,
up 22% and Camelbeach, up 31%. More
than 100k visits were tallied for Camelbeach
which benefited from the opening of the
Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor
Water Park as the resort continues its
development as a serious, year round
destination. Splish Splash benefited
primarily from a very hot and dry summer
in that part of the world as well as some
minor renovations.
Our charts for 2015 show a new entrant:
Wet’n’Wild splash town near Houston, a
park recently acquired and improved by
CNL Properties. The benefits of CNL’s
multi-million-dollar reinvestment brought
attendance numbers up to about a half
million in 2015, spelling new competition in
a region dominated by Schlitterbahn.
Latin America
Though growth was modest at the Latin
American theme parks in 2015, adding 1.0%
to reach 14.7 M, the top theme parks in Latin
America grew 33% over the last 10 years,
which denotes strong growth, though from
a relatively modest base. In Latin America’s
theme park and water park scene, we see
encouraging growth and innovation in
several respects, as well as areas that show
room for future improvement. The region’s
economic and political volatility are apparent
in the varying performance of the parks.

© Camelbeach, Tannersville, PA, U.S.

28

For Latin America’s water parks, 2015 was
a disappointing year for the most part, with
some exceptions. At 9.5 M attendance
for the top water parks, performance was

basically flat. (We just started tracking these
in 2013, so don’t have a figure for 10‑year
growth yet.)
A struggling economy and currency
decline relative to the dollar reduced
tourism from Latin America to Orlando, and
increased local visitation. This helped boost
attendance by 10.0% at Brazil’s Beto Carrero
(with 2014 attendance restated, resulting
in a modest increase), a multifaceted park
that also benefited from having added some
new kids’ adventure areas, and good social
media exposure.
A major attendance drop at Fantasilandia
in Chile was due to the economy, which
is certainly creating headwinds for many
park operators in the region. Despite
having added new features, Thermas dos
Laranjais, Brazil, declined by more than
9%, due to a combination of the economy
and an accident. Piscilago in Columbia
posted an attendance decline of about 5%.
Attendance at Bahamas Aquaventure has
been restated for 2014, placing it at the top
of Latin American water parks.
Despite the weak overall regional
performance, a number of water parks
performed very well. Parque Acuatico
Xocomilin Guatemala credited a new area
opened the previous year in the adjoining
theme park (El Gran Parque de Diversiones
Xetulul) for bringing in 22.6% more visitors.
Parque Aquatic El Rollo in Mexico helped
push attendance 8.5% with a new FlowRider
and a giant inflatable slide. Beach Park
also grew modestly (2.2%), likely helped
by the economy pushing Brazilians to
vacation in‑country rather than in Orlando,
for example.

© Bahamas Aquaventure Water Park,
Paradise Island, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

Though it doesn’t have parks in the top
lists, the properties of Grupo Xcaret in
the Cancun area are understood to have
experienced good attendance growth,
benefiting from the general growth of
tourism from North America to Mexico.
Many larger properties in Latin America
and Mexico, especially those with water
parks, do well as part of integrated resorts.
But Xcaret focuses more on developing
new attractions and experiences of
high quality along with sub-brands and
products, successfully capturing a large
share of the eco-tourism and specialty
attractions market with a range of activities
and adventures, natural beauty, history
and culture. It’s a smart, authentic, welllocated and clustered attractions product
line that is right-sized and positioned to
serve the regional market, and one that is
growing over time.
29

PERFORMANCE OF
TOP OPERATORS
IN NORTH AMERICA
This year we are including this special section reviewing the
topline performance of the major operators in the North
American market. As shown in the graphs below, despite the
maturity of the market, it was generally a good year for the
operators and in some cases it was remarkable.

Magic Kingdom, © Walt Disney World®,
Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.
30

The power of per caps
In total, estimated revenue at the top
operators grew from $16.6 B in 2014 to
$18.3 B in 2015, an increase of $1.7 B or
10.4%. Growth of attendance was not quite
as strong, but still very healthy, increasing
from 186.8 M in 2014 to 199.5 M in 2015,
an increase of 12.6 M or 6.8%. Combining
these figures results in an increase in
average revenue per attendee (or per
capita) grew from $88.80 to $91.79, an
increase of $2.99 or 3.4%. While this may
appear relatively modest, by comparison
U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew
by only 2.4% and the S&P 500 declined
marginally (-0.7%).
Performance at the operator level varied
considerably. Disney reports on a fiscal
year basis and with the Parks and Resorts
segment combined, with our estimate that
the Parks sub-segment (i.e., excluding
Resorts) had revenue of nearly $10.9 B in
2015, an increase of $983 M or 9.9% over
the estimate of almost $9.9 B in 2014.
Disney remains far and away the largest
operator, and singlehandedly accounted
for 57% of the total revenue growth in 2015.
Attendance at Disney’s domestic parks
was estimated up a remarkable 6.0
percent last year, reaching 86.1 M visitors,
and accounting for 39% percent of the
total increase at the top operators. This

was driven by such factors as the 60th
anniversary of Disneyland, the continued
success of its major films with ties-in to
its park, and associated investments.
Taken together, we estimate that revenue
at Disney’s parks grew to over $126 per
visitor, an increase of 3.7%.
Universal’s Theme Parks segment also
performed very well, with estimated net
revenue (excluding estimated revenues
associated with its hotels and Universal
Japan) reaching nearly $3.1 B, up by
$522 M or 20.5%. Similarly, estimated
attendance growth was strong at
9.3%, increasing attendance to 26.8 M,
continuing to be primarily driven by its
ongoing Harry Potter-related investments.
The combined effect was estimated growth
in revenue per attendee to Universal parks
of 10.3%, pushing it over $114 per visitor.
Cedar Fair had revenue growth of 7.5%,
which when combined with its attendance
growth of 4.9%, meant that revenue per
attendee increased modestly by 1.6% to
reach well over $50 per visitor. Six Flags
and Merlin also both grew revenues,
but this was exceeded by attendance
growth, which pushed down revenue per
attendee for both. SeaWorld slightly grew
attendance, but also experienced a modest
decline in revenue, which resulted in a small
decline in revenue per visitor.

31

These figures underscore a number of
important industry axioms. First, it all starts
and ends with the guest experience, which
is driven by “the story” and its realization at
the park, both of which require significant
initial investment and regular reinvestment.
Second, the importance of attendance as
a metric is superseded by that of revenue,
and ultimately profitability. Finally, if done
right, it can be easier to get visitors to
spend more than it is to get new visitors.

Note that where possible, the information
in this special section was taken from
public filings and other corporate
releases, with estimates made by AECOM
where information was unavailable or
insufficiently detailed.

Summary Indicators, Top Operators in
North America, 2014 and 2015

Revenue grew

12.6M

$2.99

% Change 2014–15

10.4%

6.8%

3.4%

2014
2015
% change
estimated

32

9.9%

7.5%

$2,000

6.6%

10%

5%

0%

$0

-0.5%
-5%

-$2,000

Merlin

$1.7B

$4,000

12.7%

Cedar Fair

2015 Change

$6,000

Six Flags

$18.3B 199.5M $91.79

15%

Sea World

2015

$8,000

Universal

$16.6B 186.8M $88.80

20%

20.5%

Disney

2014

25%

$10,000

Domestic parks revenue ($ millions)

REVENUE PER
CAPITA

ATTENDANCE

REVENUE

$12,000

© Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH, U.S.

Revenue per attendee was mixed

30

8%
6%

6.0%
4.9%

20

4%

10
0

Merlin

Cedar Fair

Six Flags

Sea World

Universal

0.3%

8%

$80

6%

$60

4%

$40

3.7%

2%

1.6%

$20

2%

$0

0%

-$20

0%

-0.8%
-2.0%
-3.2%

-2%
-4%

Merlin

9.3%

50
40

10%

$100

Cedar Fair

11.0%

60

10%

10.3%

Six Flags

70

$120

Sea World

12%

Disney

Domestic parks attendance (millions)

80

14%

12%

Universal

15.0%

90

$140

Disney

16%

100

Domestic parks revenue per attendee

Attendance grew

33

TOP 20
AMUSEMENT/THEME PARKS
NORTH AMERICA

ONTARIO, CANADA
1 PARK
3.6m

OHIO, U.S.
2 PARKS
6.8m

16

13

15

14

12

PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.
1 PARK
3.3m

VIRGINIA, U.S.
1 PARK
2.8m

FLORIDA, U.S.
8 PARKS
81.4m

1 PARK
3.1m

17

20

18

NEW JERSEY, U.S.

19

10 11

8

1

2

9

6

7

5

CALIFORNIA, U.S.

3

4

6 PARKS
45.3m

34

Up to 5m

5­–10m

Growth 2006–15
10m­­­­–15m

15m+

Key
Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
2014–15
2006–15

-10%

2.9%
3.6%
2.7%
2.2%
5.9%

0%

+10%

22.1%
+20%

+30%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK
1

MAGIC KINGDOM at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

6.0%

20,492,000

19,332,000

3

EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

3.0%

11,798,000

11,454,000

2

4
5
6

7
8
9

DISNEYLAND, Anaheim, CA

DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM
at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS at Universal Orlando, FL
DISNEY'S CA ADVENTURE, Anaheim, CA

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE at Universal Orlando, FL

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, Universal City, CA

10 SEAWORLD FL, Orlando, FL

11 BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY, Tampa, FL
12 KNOTT'S BERRY FARM, Buena Park, CA

13 CANADA'S WONDERLAND, Maple, Ontario

9.0%

5.0%

10,312,000

16.0%

9,585,000

8,263,000

8.0%

8,792,000

8,141,000

7.0%
4.0%
2.0%
3.0%
5.0%
2.0%

16 KINGS ISLAND, Kings Island, OH

3.0%

18 SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN, Valencia, CA

19 SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE, Jackson, NJ

20 BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG, Williamsburg, VA
TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015
TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

5.9%

Top 20 amusement/theme
parks attendance growth
North America 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

146.3m

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
North America attendance 2015

10,402,000

10,828,000

-7.0%

17 HERSHEY PARK, Hershey, PA

10,922,000

16,769,000

5.0%

14 SEAWORLD CA, San Diego, CA
15 CEDAR POINT, Sandusky, OH

18,278,000

8.0%
2.0%
9.0%
9.0%
3.0%

9,383,000
7,097,000
4,777,000
4,252,000
3,867,000
3,617,000

3,528,000
3,507,000
3,335,000
3,276,000
3,104,000
3,052,000
2,780,000

8,769,000
6,824,000
4,683,000
4,128,000
3,683,000
3,546,000

3,794,000
3,247,000
3,238,000
3,212,000
2,848,000
2,800,000
2,699,000

146,270,000 138,144,000

5.9% 138,144,000

138.1m

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
North America attendance 2014

35

TOP 20
WATER PARKS
NORTH AMERICA

MIDWEST U.S.
WEST U.S.

3 PARKS 19
1.4m

1 PARK
0.4m 17

11

18

14

TEXAS, U.S.
4 PARKS
2.6m

10

13

9

8

5

4

7

3

36

6

2

NORTHEAST U.S.

12

3 PARKS
1.4m

SOUTHEAST U.S.

20

1

15

4 PARKS
2.1m

FLORIDA, U.S.
5 PARKS
8.0m

Up to 1m

Growth 2010–15
1m–2m

2m+

Key

16

Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

2010–11
2011–12
2.3%
2013–14
2014–15
2010–15

-5%

0.1%
2.2%
2012–13
1.6%

0%

4.3%
6.0%

+5%

+10%

+15%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK
1

TYPHOON LAGOON AT DISNEY WORLD, Orlando, FL

5.0%

2,294,000

2,185,000

3

AQUATICA, Orlando, FL

2.0%

1,600,000

1,569,000

2

4

5

6

7

8

9

BLIZZARD BEACH AT DISNEY WORLD, Orlando, FL
WET 'N WILD, Orlando, FL

SCHLITTERBAHN, New Braunfels, TX

WATER COUNTRY USA, Williamsburg, VA
ADVENTURE ISLAND, Tampa, FL
SCHLITTERBAHN, Galveston,TX

SIX FLAGS-HURRICANE HARBOR, Arlington, TX

10 SIX FLAGS-WHITE WATER, Marietta, GA

11 HYLAND HILLS WATER WORLD, Denver, CO
12 SPLISH-SPASH, Calverton NY

13 WET'N'WILD SPLASHTOWN, Houston, TX
14 WET N' WILD, Phoenix, AZ

15 SIX FLAGS HURRICANE HARBOR, Jackson, NJ
16 CAMELBEACH, Tannersville, PA
17 ZOOMEZI BAY, Powell, OH

18 DOLLYWOOD'S SPLASH COUNTRY, Pigeon Forge, TN
19 RAGING WATERS, San Dimas, CA

20 WET N' WILD EMERALD POINT, Greensboro, NC
TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

4.3%

Top 20 water parks attendance
growth North America 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

15.9m

Top 20 water parks North
America attendance 2015

5.0%

2.0%

0.0%

0.0%

3.0%

0.0%

5.0%

6.1%

0.0%

21.9%

0.8%

3.0%

4.0%

30.8%

1.7%

2.0%

-6.1%

1.0%

4.3%

2,107,000

1,310,000

1,037,000

726,000

2,007,000

1,284,000

1,037,000

663,000

551,000

549,000

541,000

527,000

513,000

501,000

481,000

440,000

437,000

423,000

416,000

403,000

402,000

726,000

644,000

551,000

523,000

510,000

527,000

421,000

497,000

467,000

423,000

334,000

416,000

408,000

429,000

398,000

15,921,000 15,356,000

15,268,000

15.3m

Top 20 water parks North
America attendance 2014

37

TOP 10
AMUSEMENT/THEME PARKS
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
MEXICO
4 PARKS
6.5m

7
4

6

1

GUATEMALA

8

1 PARK
1.2m

COLOMBIA

5

1 PARK
1.4m

BRAZIL
2 PARKS
3.7m

3

CHILE
1 PARK
1.0m

2
9

38

ARGENTINA
1 PARK
1m

Up to 5m

Growth 2010–15

5­–10m

10m­­­­–15m

15m+

Key

10

Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

0.7%
2.6%
3.8%

2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
2014–15
2010–15

-15%

1.0%
0%

6.0%
10.5%

+5%

+10%

+15%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

SIX FLAGS MEXICO, Mexico City, Mexico

3

HOPI HARI, São Paulo, Brazil

2

4

5

6

7

8

9

BETO CARRERO WORLD, Santa Catarina, Brazil
LA FERIA DE CHAPULTEPEC, Mexico City, Mexico
PARQUE MUNDO AVENTURA, Bogotá, Colombia
PARQUE XCARET, Cancun, Mexico

PLAZA DE SESAMO, Monterrey, Mexico

MUNDO PETAPA, Guatemala City, Guatemala
FANTASIALANDIA, Santiago, Chile

10 PARQUE DE LA COSTA, Tigre, Argentina
TOP 10 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 10 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

0.0%

2,368,000

0.0%

1,668,000

10.0%

2.1%

-2.4%

6.2%

0.0%

5.4%

-9.7%

-6.3%

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK
1

2,368,000

2,000,000

1,818,000*

1,584,000

1,552,000

1,389,000

1,287,000

1,221,000

1,199,000

1,003,000

956,000

1,668,000

1,423,000

1,212,000

1,221,000

1,138,000

1,111,000

1,020,000

14,675,000 14,531,000*

1.0% 14,531,000*

* Figure restated since 2014 Theme Index

1.0%

Top 10 amusement/theme
parks attendance growth
Latin America 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

14.7m

Top 10 amusement/theme parks
Latin America attendance 2015

14.5m*

Top 10 amusement/theme parks
Latin America attendance 2014

39

TOP 10
WATER PARKS
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
1

MEXICO
2 PARKS
0.7m

10

7
6

THE BAHAMAS
1 PARK
1.9m

GUATEMALA
1 PARK
0.9m

COLOMBIA
1 PARK
1m

4

4

BRAZIL

3
2

9

8

40

Up to 1m

Growth 2013–15
1m–2m

2m+

Key

5 PARKS
4.9m

Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

2013–14
2014–15
-5%

4.5%
0.3%

0%

+5%

+10%

+15%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

2

3

4
6
7

8

9

BAHAMAS AQUAVENTURE WATER PARK,
Paradise Island (Nassau, New Providence), Bahamas

ATTENDANCE
2014

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK
1

1.0%

1,868,000

1,850,000*

THERMAS DOS LARANJAIS, Olimpia, Brazil

-9.2%

1,761,000

1,939,000

PISCILAGO, Girardo (Bogotá), Colombia

-4.7%

970,000

1,018,000

PARQUE ACUATICO XOCOMIL,
San Martín Zapotitlán, Retalhuleu, Guatemala

22.6%

WET 'N WILD SAO PAULO, São Paulo, Brazil

0.0%

HOT PARK RIO QUENTE, Caldas Novas, Brazil
BEACH PARK, Aquiraz, Brazil

0.0%

2.2%

1,288,000

970,000

1,288,000

949,000

940,000

767,000

PARQUE ACUATICO EL ROLLO, Morelos, Mexico

8.5%

510,000

470,000*

RIO WATER PLANET, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

0.0%

400,000

400,000

10 WET 'N WILD, Cancun, Mexico

TOP 10 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

TOP 10 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

1.6%

0.3%

496,000

259,000

9,462,000

9,432,000*

496,000

255,000

9,432,000*

* Figure restated since 2014 Theme Index

0.3%

Top 10 water parks attendance
growth Latin America 2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

9.5m

Top 10 water parks Latin
America attendance 2015

9.4m*

Top 10 water parks Latin
America attendance 2014

41

ASIA-PACIFIC

6.9%

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth Asia-Pacific
2014–15

130.9m

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
Asia-Pacific attendance 2015

19.6m

Top 20 water parks Asia-Pacific
attendance 2015
42

Theme parks:
6.9% attendance
increase is Mainland
China driven
The impact of Chimelong
and Songcheng
Chris Yoshii
Vice President,
Asia-Pacific
Beth Chang
Regional Director,
Economics, Asia‑Pacific

At 6.9%, attendance at the top theme parks
in the Asia-Pacific region for 2015 reflects
a year of strong growth. This number, which
is good compared to previous years, was
driven almost entirely by Mainland China,
the primary factor being the many new
parks that have recently completed their
first full year of operation.
These included Chimelong Ocean
Kingdom, which with 7.5 M attendance
posted a 36% increase over 2014 and
moved up to the #4 position on the chart.
On the resort side, Ocean Kingdom added
a second and third hotel, bringing its room
total to more than 4,000. On the park side,
a new 5D theater was added. These were
backed by quite a bit of online marketing
and promotion.

Chimelong 5D Castle
Theater, © Chimelong Ocean
Kingdom, Hengqin, China

Songcheng Group is another major entrant,
posting a 53% increase in total attendance
for 2015. Due to the success of several
new parks, Songcheng made a big splash
on our charts — both the top 10 worldwide
theme park operators and the top 20
theme parks within Asia.
43

The Songcheng parks’ main feature is live,
theatrical shows with a cultural theme.
These shows are quite popular with
tourists and the parks are well located —
in Hangzhou, Lijiang and Sanya — to make
the most of tour group business, especially
within the mainland. The combination
of high-traffic locations, live shows and
culture and a relatively small footprint is a
winner for Songcheng.
There’s been a fair amount of press about
softness in China’s economy, but that
reflects a shift from manufacturing to
service. If you look at services, tourism
and education, these things are booming.
Entertainment spending is going up very
fast; spending on education is increasing.
This all spells good news for our tourism

and leisure-based industry. Developers are
supporting that service industry; projects
are getting approved and financed, and the
amount of themed entertainment product
keeps growing.
Outside China, highs and lows
Results were more mixed for theme parks
in other Asian countries than China, for
2015. With attendance of 13.9 M, Universal
Studios Japan had a very good year, in
fact beating their previous record year
with a near 18% increase and lifting it to
the position of #2 park in Asia (beating out
Tokyo Disney Sea). This can be credited to
its first full year of operation with the Harry
Potter attractions.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™,
© Universal Japan, Tokyo, Japan

44

Universal Studios Japan had a very good year,
in fact beating their previous record year with
a near 18% increase.
In Korea, Everland was stable while Lotte
World showed a decrease that can be
interpreted as a fallback after a slate of
new attractions brought an attendance
surge in 2014.

Water parks: Chimelong on top again

In Hong Kong, Ocean Park and Disney both
declined in visitation, attributable to fewer
tourists from Mainland China, although
the residential market remained strong.
There had been protests in Hong Kong
concerning tourism, which has grown
significantly there in recent years. The
protests prompted many Chinese to avoid
Hong Kong and travel to other places such
as Japan and Thailand.

Weather was the culprit in Korea, which had
a very wet summer. But even though Korea
had a down year, the status and outlook of
the water park scene in Asia are positive.
China saw many new entries into the market
— a huge construction boom in fact, that
will influence the numbers in the future.

Universal Studios Singapore saw a very
good increase of 9% for 2015, quite strong.
And it’s worth noting that in Southeast
Asia, many parks are doing well, although
their numbers are not always big enough to
earn a place on our top-attended lists. All in
all, 2015 was a pretty good year for theme
parks in Asia.

17.8%

Universal Studios Japan
attendance growth 2014–15

36%

Overall, water park visitation in 2015 in the
Asia-Pacific region was slack, about 1%
total for the top attended parks.

Chimelong Water park added attendance
and maintained its status as the #1 water
park in the world, even in the face of
Disney’s very good year back in the U.S.,
with Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Asia’s water park sector outgrew North
America’s a couple of years ago and that
position will be maintained. Part of the credit
goes to Southeast Asia, where the weather
supports year-round operation.

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom,
China, attendance growth
2014–15

170.4%

Songcheng Lijiang
Romance Park, China,
attendance growth 2014–15
45

OCT Happy Valley, Shenzhen, China

Water parks are harder to track than theme
parks in Asia. They are being built at a faster
pace — there might be as many as five
water parks being built for every new theme
park. Water parks also tend to be smaller
and locally based.

shake up our charts each year with parks
and operators climbing up and dropping off.
As attendance increases at the top parks,
it also raises the minimum attendance a
park needs to achieve in order to stay on
the charts.

A volatile, growing market

Next year’s charts will reflect the first
half-year of attendance at Shanghai
Disney, opening this season. Once it has
been open a full year, we will have a better
sense of when the Asian parks market
will overtake North America altogether —
whether it will be around 2020 as we’ve

Volatility will continue to be a hallmark of
the Asia-Pacific market, as it is still growing
rapidly and may not stabilize for perhaps
another decade. The sector is still a long
way from saturation and maturity. This will

Volatility will continue to be a hallmark of the AsiaPacific market, as it is still growing rapidly and may
not stabilize for perhaps another decade.
46

Disney Shanghai will be a watershed event.
It is expected to do very well and have a
positive effect on the region.
previously estimated, or sooner. As things
continue to evolve and mature in Asia, we’ll
see shifting ownership and consolidation
of smaller parks into larger chains as part of
the process.
Global context
Disney Shanghai will be a watershed event.
It is expected to do very well and have a
positive effect on the region. The Asian
market really likes the Disney product.
Behind that, Universal Beijing is under
construction, and other international
brand IPs are looking around very actively
in China. Operators, local governments
and the IP companies all show definite
interest in building branded attractions in
a meaningful way, in the largest consumer
market in the world.
That said, the Chinese government is
cautious about having too much Western
content, and it will be interesting to see
how Eastern projects blend local media,
local culture and heritage with Western
concepts and Western brands — and
how much of that might translate back to
attractions in the West. There’s certainly
room for something of everything in the
market, including traditional culture-based
attractions and Chinese media-based
experiences as well as foreign.

We can see it already happening in the
movie industry. Cinema box office revenue
in China will pass North American at some
point fairly soon, and studios have already
been moving to a more international
product, or at least a product with
Asian elements.
In Southeast Asia, a growing number of
large, diversified media companies that
are active in TV, broadcasting, gaming
and mobile technology are exploring
how to move into theme parks and family
entertainment centers.
And even though they don’t show up in
this report, developers in Asia have a lot of
interest in indoor entertainment — smaller
size facilities of 30,000–50,000 square
feet, usually within retail centers. Oriented
to children, teens and families visiting
for 2–3 hours at a stretch, these facilities
represent opportunities for themed
entertainment professionals. Shopping
malls look to them for differentiation as
Asia is moving very quickly to a saturated
retail environment. Sometimes there’s a
cluster of attractions similar to the Merlin
Entertainments business model.

47

TOP 20
AMUSEMENT/THEME PARKS
ASIA-PACIFIC
SOUTH KOREA
2 PARKS
14.7m

CHINA

7

11 PARKS
48m
18

19 20

16

4 PARKS
50m

10

4

15

14 13

1

3

8

17

JAPAN

5

2

11

9

HONG KONG

6

2 PARKS
14.2m

12

SINGAPORE
1 PARK
4.2m

48

Up to 5m

5­–10m

Growth 2010–15
10m­­­­–15m

15m+

Key
Circles represent size of attendance at
ranked parks in the geography indicated.
Slices within circles represent proportion
of attendance in the geography from the
ranked park indicated by number. Shading
indicates attendance at the ranked park
versus all other ranked parks.

2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
2014–15
2010–15

-10%

0%

7.5%
5.8%
7.5%
4.9%
6.9%
+10%

+20%

26.7%
+30%

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

TOKYO DISNEYLAND, Tokyo, Japan

3

TOKYO DISNEY SEA, Tokyo, Japan

2

4

5

6

7

8

9

16,600,000

17,300,000

-3.5%

13,600,000

14,100,000

17.8%

CHIMELONG OCEAN KINGDOM, Hengqin, China

36.0%

OCEAN PARK, Hong Kong SAR

-5.2%

HANGZHOU SONGCHENG PARK, Hangzhou, China

25.5%

LOTTE WORLD, Seoul, South Korea

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND, Hong Kong SAR

10 NAGASHIMA SPA LAND, Kuwana, Japan

11 SONGCHENG LIJIANG ROMANCE PARK, Lijiang, China
12 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE, Singapore

13 CHANGZHOU DINOSAUR PARK, Changzhou, China
14 OCT EAST, Shenzhen, China

0.6%

-3.9%

-9.3%

4.2%

8.0%

20 JIUZHAI SONGCHENG RESORT, Jiuzhaigou, China

67.0%

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
attendance growth Asia‑Pacific
2014–15

© 2016 TEA / AECOM

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
Asia-Pacific attendance 2015

7,289,000

6,800,000

7,792,000

7,606,000

5,810,000

7,500,000

3,840,000

72.1%

130.9m

7,310,000

7,381,000

4,200,000

6.8%

18 SONGCHENG SANYA ROMANCE PARK, Sanya, China

6.9%

7,387,000

9.4%

-4.4%

TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2014

7,423,000

5,504,000

5,630,000

17 OCT WINDOW OF THE WORLD, Shenzhen, China

TOP 20 TOTAL ATTENDANCE 2015

7,486,000

11,800,000

5,870,000

12.0%

19 OCT HAPPY VALLEY, Shenzhen, China

13,900,000

4.3%

170.4%

15 OCT HAPPY VALLEY, Beijing, China

16 CHIMELONG PARADISE, Guangzhou, China

ATTENDANCE
2014

-4.0%

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN, Osaka, Japan

EVERLAND, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

ATTENDANCE
2015

%
CHANGE

PARK
Location

RANK
1

-1.5%

4,678,000

3,950,000

3,940,000

3,740,000

3,619,000

3,440,000

3,322,000

3,250,000

3,140,000

1,730,000

3,700,000

3,780,000

3,340,000

3,351,000

3,600,000

1,930,000

3,300,000

1,880,000

130,944,000 120,874,000

6.9% 122,527,000

122.5m

Top 20 amusement/theme parks
Asia-Pacific attendance 2014

49


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