2015 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index Reveals Thriving Industry

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10th annual attendance study shows exceptional growth in North America and Asia, led by Disney, Merlin, Universal, OCT Parks China and others

Cover art for TEA/AECOM 2015 Theme Index & Museum Index

“Over our 10 years of tracking the industry, we have seen steady improvements in business volume and continued internationalization of the attractions world." -- John Robinett, SVP, economics, AECOM.

The 2015 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, an annual study of attendance at top theme parks, waterparks and museums, reveals strong global growth in the industry in 2015. Compared to the previous year, attendance grew by over 5 percent at the top 25 theme parks in the world and over 7 percent for the top 10 theme park groups. Attendance at the top 20 water parks grew by 4 percent. Museum attendance held steady globally, but with nearly 3 percent growth in North America.

The attendance study, now in its 10th year, is created and distributed by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the economics practice at AECOM. The new study, and prior editions dating to 2006, is available freely online at http://www.teaconnect.org/Resources/Theme-Index/ and http://www.aecom.com/themeindex.

“The growth we’ve seen this year is tremendous for a relatively mature industry,” said John Robinett, senior vice president, economics, AECOM. “Over our 10 years of tracking the industry, we have seen steady improvements in business volume (despite a global recession), the introduction of exciting new technologies and continued internationalization of the attractions world.”

The study shows global theme park attendance in 2015 was driven largely by strong performance of the major Asian and U.S. operators, including OCT Parks China, Chimelong, Fantawild, SongCheng, Disney and Universal. Visits to theme parks were up nearly 6 percent in North America and nearly 7 percent in Asia. The museum market was led by a few standouts with double digit growth, including the Hermitage in Russia and the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

The 2015 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index includes special features on how the industry has changed over the past decade.

“With 10 years of data, the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index reveals the true breadth, success and impact of the visitor attractions industry,” said TEA International Board President Steve Birket of Birket Engineering. “As the nonprofit association for the creators of compelling places and experiences, TEA is honored to team with AECOM — a firm with great experience as a feasibility and economics consultant and a provider of design, build, finance and operational services — to illuminate the trends and issues affecting our industry.”

Key figures from the TEA/AECOM 2015 Theme Index and Museum Index:

  • 420 million visits to attractions run by the top 10 global theme park groups, up 7.2 percent.
  • 236 million visits to the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide, up 5.4 percent.
  • 146 million visits to the top 20 amusement/theme parks in North America, up 5.9 percent.
  • 131 million visits to the top 20 amusement/theme parks in Asia-Pacific, up 6.9 percent.
  • 107 million visits to the top 20 museums worldwide, down 0.7 percent.
  • 74 million visits to the top 20 museums in Europe, Middle East and Africa, down 1.7 percent.
  • 61 million visits to the top 20 amusement/theme parks in Europe, Middle East and Africa, up 2.8 percent.
  • 58 million visits to the top 20 museums in Asia-Pacific, down 0.4 percent.
  • 58 million visits to the top 20 museums in North America, up 2.6 percent.
  • 29 million visits to the top 20 water parks worldwide, up 3.7 percent.

Both AECOM and TEA express thanks to the numerous park and museum operators who graciously and generously furnished attendance information and imagery, enabling this report to be as complete, accurate and informative as possible. The report is a free and essential resource for the press, the financial and leisure sectors, travel bloggers, educators, entertainment operators, investors and developers and park enthusiasts.

This is the fourth year that museum numbers have been added to the report.

Although primarily an online publication, the report is distributed in a limited print edition with Chinese translation, and will be available at the 2016 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Asian Attractions Expo, June 13-16, in Shanghai.

AECOM research team:
John Robinett, senior vice president, economics, Americas; Brian Sands, vice president, Americas; Chris Yoshii, vice president, Asia-Pacific; Beth Chang, regional director, Asia-Pacific; Margreet Papamichael, director, Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Linda Cheu, vice president, Americas.

TEA team:
Jennie Nevin, chief operating officer; Steve Birket, international board president, and CEO/president of Birket Engineering; and Judith Rubin, publications editor.

About TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international, nonprofit membership association, founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, California USA. TEA represents some 10,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 1,250 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE conference on Experience Design. TEA also produces a variety of print and electronic publications, and is pleased to collaborate with AECOM on the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index. http://www.teaconnect.org, @TEA_Connect

About AECOM
AECOM is built to deliver a better world. We design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organizations in more than 150 countries. As a fully integrated firm, we connect knowledge and experience across our global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, our work is transformative, differentiated and vital. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM had revenue of approximately $18 billion during fiscal year 2015. See how we deliver what others can only imagine at aecom.com and @AECOM.

Media inquiries: Erik Miller, AECOM: erik.miller [at] aecom [dot] com; Judith Rubin, TEA: judy [at] teaconnect [dot] org

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