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Burbank, California – Despite challenges presented by reduced consumer spending and budgets in 2009, the theme park industry managed to weather the storm at a level equal to or ahead of many other industries. An annual attendance study for the theme park industry released today by the Economics practice at AECOM (formerly Economics Research Associates [ERA]) and Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) cites over 185 million visits to the top 25 worldwide parks, a decline of 0.3 percent from the previous year.
“The international theme park and visitor attractions industry is coming off a challenging year due to the global economic recession,” said Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) president Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates. “The figures within the 2009 TEA/AECOM Global Attraction Attendance Report reflect that. But they also reflect the resilience and creativity of the industry and show us the way to future growth. Under the circumstances, in 2009 the major theme parks did remarkably well.”
In 2009, most of the top theme parks and leisure destinations saw either flat attendance or a decline. This was due in large part to reduced spending and travel by consumers reacting to the recession, along with the effects of the H1N1 flu virus. “Most parks felt the impact of the deepest recession since the Great Depression,” said Ray Braun, Senior Vice President, AECOM, and head of its Entertainment and Recreation Economics operation.
The strategies employed by theme parks to sustain numbers and make the best of a troubled situation underscore the basic fundamentals of good business in the visitor attractions industry: reinvestment in the guest experience, creative targeted marketing and building the relationship with the customer.
The TEA/AECOM Attraction Attendance Report identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance for the previous year. Global attendance data are broken down by geographic region, by chain and by type of venue. The report is a valuable business reference and resource for the themed entertainment industry.
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