TEA/AECOM 2014 Theme Index reports on attendance at world’s top theme parks, waterparks and museums - published by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM

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This definitive, global attendance study identifies industry trends and calendar-year visitation numbers for theme parks, water parks, museums and the top theme park group operators. “The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is an essential resource for identifying growth, increasing awareness, and celebrating excellence in the visitor attractions industry,” said TEA president Steve Birket.

The visitor attractions industry continued its post-recession attendance growth at a healthy rate of 4 percent for the top theme parks globally." -- John Robinett, AECOM

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM announced today that the 2014 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is available to download. This definitive, global attendance study by the economics practice at AECOM identifies industry trends and calendar-year visitation numbers for theme parks, water parks, museums and the top theme park group operators.

Free online download:
from AECOM at http://www.aecom.com/themeindex or
from TEA at http://bit.ly/TEA_AECOM2014ThemeIndex

A Chinese language print edition of the report will be available at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Hong Kong June 16-19, 2015.

“We are pleased to collaborate with AECOM on the 9th annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index,” said TEA president Steve Birket. “This annual study is an essential resource for identifying growth, increasing awareness, and celebrating excellence in the visitor attractions industry.”

Worldwide growth:
4 percent for theme parks, 3 percent for waterparks, 2 percent for museums
“The industry continued its post-recession attendance growth at a healthy rate of 4 percent for the top theme parks globally,” said John Robinett, AECOM senior vice president, economics, Americas. “That growth reflects a post-recession rebound in all regions: Europe at 3 percent, the Americas at 2 percent and Asia at 5 percent.”

Waterparks showed similar global growth of around 3 percent. “The waterparks sector continues to expand in Latin America and Asia, with great potential in the Middle East,” said Robinett. "This year’s study also includes European waterparks for the first time, revealing a significant market in Germany.”

In theme parks and waterparks, worldwide trends to watch include Asia growth, Middle East resurgence, resort-style development, and the initiatives of the large, established operators. “Asia will keep growing and raising the bar for quality,” said Robinett. “The Middle East is making a comeback. Universal parks showed double-digit increases due to new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions, and there are more to come. And there is tremendous anticipation for the 2016 opening of Disney Shanghai.”

Attendance growth at the world’s top museums in 2014 was considered a bit slow at under 2 percent, in comparison to the performance of parks and waterparks. “Museum attendance worldwide is very sensitive to the schedules of blockbuster traveling exhibitions,” said Robinett.

The Americas:
Top operators stay on top, museums reinvest and reinvent
“Growth at U.S. theme parks was concentrated in the top nine parks — all Disney and Universal properties — underscoring the growing dominance of the major operators,” said Brian Sands, AECOM vice president, economics, Americas. With little fluctuation in ranking from the previous year, the top six North American parks are all Disney parks, with The Magic Kingdom at Disney Orlando Resort in the number one position. The 7th through 9th positions are held by Universal Studios parks.

“Comparing attendance growth at U.S. theme parks and waterparks with that of Latin America shows a stable, mature market versus a dynamic, younger one,” said Sands. The U.S. top 20 theme parks grew 2.2 percent from 2013 to 2014, while the top 20 waterparks came in at 1.6 percent. Latin America’s top 10 theme parks, on the other hand, grew 5.1 percent — helped by double-digit increases at Beto Carrero World (Brazil; 10 percent) and Parque Mundo Aventura (Colombia; 23.5 percent). Even more dynamic was the nearly 6-percent growth of the top 10 Latin American waterparks; double-digit performers were Wet ‘N Wild São Paolo (25.6 percent) and Rio Water Planet (14.3 percent).

Museums in North America also perform as a mature market, and overall showed a slight attendance decrease for 2014, of 2.6 percent. As in other parts of the world, the top attended museums are in the big tourist cities such as Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago. There is a visible wave of reinvestment and technological upgrading taking place that echoes the kind of renewal that helps theme parks build success. “The combined impact of the aging of permanent exhibits with rapid changes in technology and entertainment is sparking a very serious interest among museums of all sizes to reinvest and renew,” said Linda Cheu, AECOM vice president, economics. “We are seeing willingness to look to other industries, including commercial attractions and hospitality, to improve the visitor experience and reach audiences.”

Growth, and room to grow more
“The very strong year for theme parks in Asia was propelled by fundamental market growth, particularly in China, based on the increases in wealth and tourism that drive visitation,” said Chris Yoshii, AECOM vice president, economics, Asia-Pacific.

Overall attendance at the top 20 theme parks in the Asian market increased nearly 5 percent from 2013 to 2014, from 116.8 million to 122.5 million. Universal Studios Japan saw a large increase due to the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom posted 5.5 million visits in its first 11 months of operation, and received a TEA Thea Award. “Chimelong has not only raised the quality bar — it raised ticket prices and showed that its visitors will support them,” said Yoshii. Disney Shanghai, opening in 2016, is expected to reinforce these upward trends and draw a significant new surge of visitors, as is Universal Beijing in 2019.

The core shift of industry growth from North America to Asia is also reflected in the top 25 worldwide parks list — American parks on that list decreased in number from 11 to 10, and Asian parks increased by one. “We’ve forecast that Asian parks will overtake American parks in 2020,” said Yoshii. “Asia’s large parks keep getting larger, adding and expanding to leverage a growing market, especially tourists. “China still has quite a ways to grow, as do Southeast and South Asia.”

Museums are also in a growth pattern with a 9.1-percent attendance increase at the top 20 Asia-Pacific museums. A building boom is ongoing, largely fueled by government objectives to increase the number of cultural institutions and, in China and Korea, to have most institutions offer free admission.

EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa):
Museums, theme parks and waterparks all strong
In Europe, cultural destinations drew top attendance. The top 20 EMEA museums attendance for 2014 was well over 75,411,000 while the top 20 theme parks for the region came in at 59,535,000. Paris tops both lists, with visitation numbers very close for the Louvre (9,300,000) and Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris (9,940,000). The Louvre also holds the top attendance spot for museums worldwide.

Large swings in museum attendance are mostly due to the arrival or departure of traveling blockbuster exhibitions — but permanent collections remain significant. “The mix of visitors at the Louvre is 30 percent domestic and 70 percent international, with the former primarily visiting for temporary exhibitions and the latter driven by tourism,” said Cheu. “This emphasizes the importance of generating renewed interest while not forgetting the value of the great masterpieces in the main collection.”

The Vatican Museum posted a 13.2-percent increase from 2013 to 2014. “We think this can be largely attributed to the ‘Francis Effect,’” said Margreet Papamichael, AECOM director, EMEA. “He was elected pope in 2013, and 2014 would have been the first year this effect would have been felt in full.”

Overall, EMEA museum attendance increased .8 percent in 2014 at the top 20 institutions, while EMEA theme parks grew a healthy 3 percent, reflecting continued recovery from recession. “2014 was generally a good year for the European parks,” said Papamichael, noting good numbers from Parque Warner, Futuroscope, Europa-Park, Tivoli and De Efteling. “In 2013, we saw an improvement in the performance of the Northern European parks, and in 2014 it seems that Southern Europe was catching up.”

Waterparks in EMEA appear in the TEA/AECOM Theme Index for the first time in this edition, allowing analysis of the top 20 waterparks across all regions. The 2014 EMEA list shows a cluster in Germany and another in the Middle East, and overall attendance of 8,320,000.

Some key figures from the TEA/AECOM 2014 Theme Index & Museum Index:

  • 392 million visits to attractions run by the top 10 global theme park groups, up 5.1 percent
  • 223 million visits to the top 25 theme/amusement parks worldwide, up 4.1 percent
  • 138 million visits to the top 20 North American theme/amusement parks, up 2.2 percent
  • 123 million visits to the top 20 Asian theme/amusement parks, up 4.9 percent
  • 107 million visits to the top 20 worldwide museums, up 1.6 percent
  • 75 million visits to the top 20 EMEA museums, up 0.8 percent
  • 60 million visits to the top 20 EMEA theme/amusement parks, up 3.0 percent
  • 58 million visits to the top 20 Asian museums, up 9.1 percent
  • 54 million visits to the top 20 North American museums, down 2.6 percent
  • 28 million visits to the top 20 worldwide water parks, up 2.8 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 infrastructure and management-support services.

The full report is available at: http://bit.ly/TEA_AECOM2014ThemeIndex
and http://www.aecom.com/themeindex.

About TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 8,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in some 1,000 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE conference (Story + Architecture + Technology = Experience). TEA produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index and the Thea Awards Program. Visit http://www.TEAconnect.org. On Twitter: @tea_connect.


AECOM is a premier, fully integrated professional and technical services firm positioned to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets around the world for public- and private-sector clients. With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in over 150 countries around the world, AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings, and has been recognized by Fortune magazine as a World’s Most Admired Company. The firm is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering customized and creative solutions that meet the needs of clients’ projects. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2015. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at http://www.aecom.com.

Press contacts:

Judith Rubin, judy(at)teaconnect(dot)org
Jennie Nevin, jennie(at)teaconnect(dot)org

Brian Sands, brian(dot)sands(at)aecom(dot)com
Erik Miller, erik(dot)miller(at)aecom(dot)com

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