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TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index & Museum Index released

[quote]Leisure and travel industries are maturing in the West and breaking new ground in the East.  It’s an exciting, creative time for our industry. We are honored to be partnering with AECOM for the seventh consecutive year on this annual study, a critical resource for anyone with an interest in the leisure and travel sector.”   Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions, TEA President[/quote]

Burbank, CA, USA (June 03, 2014) — The annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, the definitive annual attendance study for the themed entertainment and museum industries, was published today. Theme park numbers for calendar year 2013 show substantial growth internationally, with the top North American parks surpassing pre-recession days, water parks emerging in Latin America, Asia continuing to surge forward and the Middle East resuming development activity. Globally, the top theme park operators posted attendance growth of 5.4 percent overall, and the top 25 theme parks grew at a similar rate of 4.3 percent. The top museums also performed well, up over 7 percent internationally.

Published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM, this report is available to download here from InPark Magazine.  It will also be distributed in a print version and Chinese-language translation at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Beijing, June 17-20.

John Robinett, senior vice president, economics, at AECOM, says, “There is a global rise in the importance of leisure as a driving influence in culture and economies. In the U.S., the leisure industry is now the number-two producer of jobs in the private sector after health care. In China, India, and increasingly in Latin America, this industry is growing at a rapid rate as middle class markets emerge. Barring major economic or social disruptions, this should continue into the future.”

Some key figures from the report:

  • –377 million visits to attractions run by the top 10 global theme park groups, up 5.4 percent
  • –215 million visits to the top 25 theme/amusement parks worldwide, up 4.3 percent
  • –135 million visits to the top 20 North American theme/amusement parks, up 2.7 percent
  • –117 million visits to the top 20 Asian theme/amusement parks, up 7.5 percent
  • –106 million visits to the top 20 worldwide museums, up 7.2 percent
  • –75 million visits to the top 20 European museums, up 4.6 percent
  • –58 million visits to the top 20 European theme/amusement parks, flat
  • –58 million visits to the top 20 North American museums, up 1.6 percent
  • –53 million visits to the top 20 Asian museums, up 27.6 percent
  • 27 million visits to the top 20 worldwide water parks, up 7.1 percent

The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is a collaboration of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the economics practice at AECOM, a global provider of technical-professional and management-support services. This calendar-year study of global attractions attendance is a free resource for park operators, land developers and the travel industry. Top worldwide theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, museums and theme park group operators are named, and industry trends are identified.TEA president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions says, “Leisure and travel industries are maturing in the West and breaking new ground in the East. It’s an exciting, creative time for our industry. We are honored to be partnering with AECOM for the seventh consecutive year on this annual study, a critical resource for anyone with an interest in the leisure and travel sector.”

Select quotes and figures – 2013 TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index 

Brian Sands, vice president, Economics, Americas, AECOM

“2013 represents the fourth straight year of growth in North American theme parks since the worst of the Great Recession. The estimated 135.1 million visits to the top 20 parks equates to 3.6 million more visits, 2.7 percent higher than in 2012. Compared to 2004 (115.4 million visits), the increase is 17 percent. By contrast, the U.S. population grew about half as quickly, at 9 percent, from 2004 to 2013. All major operators with significant operations in North America reported increased per-capita revenues, some markedly.”

“Latin America’s top theme/amusement parks saw 13.7 million visits in 2013, representing growth of 3.8 percent or 500,000 visits – good given the slowing of the Latin American economies, though it must be acknowledged that on a same park basis, growth was only about 1 percent.”

  • –The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida grew by nearly 6.0 percent, maintaining its position as the most visited theme park in the world with a total of 18.6 million visits.
  • –The opening this year of Transformers: The Ride 3-D at Universal Studios Florida pushed attendance up significantly to an estimated –7.1 million visits in 2013, an increase of 14.0 percent.
  • –Attendance at Disney California Adventure increased in 2013 by 9.5 percent to reach an estimated 8.5 million visits, driven by the continued strong appeal of Cars Land.
  • –Both Cedar Fair and Six Flags identified season passes as major drivers for growth in their attendance in 2013.

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

“2013 was a very strong year overall for theme parks and water parks in Asia. The top theme parks had a combined attendance increase of 7.5 percent. Water parks came in at a 6 percent increase – well above 2012 levels. The five parks with the greatest attendance increases (Tokyo Disneyland at 15.9 percent, Tokyo Disney Sea at 11.3 percent, Hong Kong Disneyland at 10.4 percent, Lotte World at 15.9 percent, and Seoulland at 8 percent) all added attractions and underwent expansions and/or renovations.”

  • –Fantawild is number 9 on the Top 10 worldwide operators list after opening three new properties between 2012 and 2013.
  • –Seoulland made it to the Top 20 Theme/Amusement Parks Asia-Pacific list for the first time, thanks to an attendance increase of 8 percent.
  • –Chimelong Group opened its new destination theme park and resort Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China, receiving huge crowds.
  • –All eyes are on Shanghai, as the much-anticipated late-2015 opening of Shanghai Disneyland approaches.

Jodie Lock, senior analyst Economics, Europe, AECOM 

“Overall performance at European theme parks was mixed in 2013, giving rise to yet another static year for the top 20 parks. The picture displays an aggregate stabilized attendance figure of 58 million visitors. The U.K. tourism sector had a fantastic year. But in Southern Europe, parks were prevented from reaching their full potential due to the challenging economic situation.”

  • –Merlin Entertainments, operator of just over one-third of the top 20 European parks, performed extremely well in 2013, especially its U.K. parks.
  • –Europa Park has moved up to the position of second-most-visited theme park in Europe, in place of Walt Disney Studios Park. Europa Park boosted attendance by 6.5% while attendance at the two Disney parks near Paris declined by 6.9% – illustrating the North/South divide in economic recovery.
  • –An appetite for development has returned in the Middle East, particularly the U.A.E.
  • –Dubai’s selection to host the 2020 World Expo is also triggering a new wave of development.

Another emerging economy to watch is Russia.

Linda Cheu, vice president, AECOM 

“The top 20 museums worldwide showed 7.2 percent growth in attendance at an estimated 105.6 million visits, up from 98.5 million in 2012. With the economy improving, we’re seeing endowments starting to increase for those museums that have them – as well as earned income, now that visitors have more money to spend on leisure activities. The last five years have been a major wakeup call for museums in general – especially those dependent primarily on one income source.”

  • –London’s museums enjoyed a surge credited to the attention focused on the city during the Olympic Games the previous year.
  • –Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, saw a 23.8-percent attendance increase from a record 732,339 visits to the Salvador Dali exhibition.
  • –In Los Angeles, The California Science Center posted a 31.5-percent attendance increase due to its new acquisition, Space Shuttle Endeavour.
  • –Double-digit attendance jumps at museums in Asia for 2013 can be credited either to a popular exhibit, or to significant renovations that produce a visitation surge on reopening.

For additional figures and analysis of global theme park attendance, links to previous editions of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index are available for several years back, including 20122011 and 2010. More can be accessed on the TEA Connect blog.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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