New TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index Shows Mixed Results in 2016 Global Theme Park Attendance

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Attendance at top theme park groups, museums and water parks continues to grow

TEA/AECOM 2016 Theme Index & Museum Index cover image

The study reveals an evolving theme park industry with many new ventures and developing markets, offset by well-established operators who continue to refine and improve ways of doing business.

The 2016 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, an annual study of attendance at top theme parks, water parks and museums around the world, reveals mixed results for calendar year 2016. While attendance at the top 25 theme parks dipped by 1.1 percent, the world’s top 10 theme park operators saw a 4.3 percent increase at their properties, from 420 million to 438 million visitors.

The report also shows attendance at the top 20 water parks worldwide grew by 3.6 percent, and attendance at the world’s top 20 museums increased by 1.2 percent.

“Following record setting numbers in 2015, attendance results in 2016 were more modest but still reflective of a healthy, growing industry,” said John Robinett, senior vice president, Economics, AECOM. “The major theme park operators continued their positive performance, and most markets saw slow, steady growth, while weather, tourism and political issues contributed to minor declines in others.”

The attendance study, now in its 11th 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) are available freely online at http://www.teaconnect.org/Resources/Theme-Index/ and http://www.aecom.com/themeindex.

The report suggests the slight overall decline in attendance at the top 25 theme parks was driven largely by anomalies in Asia. In some areas, revenues grew even where attendance did not – notably at Disney parks in North America. The study reveals an evolving theme park industry with many new ventures and developing markets, offset by well-established operators who continue to refine and improve ways of doing business.

Globally, water parks continued their strong growth trend (attendance increases of 3.6 percent at the top 20), with existing parks doing well and new parks being built.

The top 20 museums hit a new high this year of 108 million attendees, exceeding the previous record by over one million guests. The modest growth (1.2 percent) is generally attributed to a dearth of blockbuster exhibition openings in 2016.

“The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is a vital resource, providing our industry with a solid body of relevant research and expertise for more than a decade,” said TEA International Board President David Willrich of DJ Willrich Ltd. “In addition to benefiting the attractions industry, the Theme Index is a boon to tourism, travel, finance, business and education sectors. We’re proud of our partnership with AECOM and our joint efforts to document and understand worldwide attendance trends.”

New features in the 2016 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index include a table showing the positive effects of parks adding a second and third gate, and in-depth analysis of museums now that the Museum Index has run for five years.

Key figures from the report

  • 438 million visits to attractions run by the top 10 global theme park groups, up 4.3 percent
  • 233 million visits to the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide, down 1.1 percent
  • 148 million visits to the top 20 amusement/theme parks in North America, up 1.2 percent
  • 127 million visits to the top 20 amusement/theme parks in Asia-Pacific, down 2.8 percent
  • 108 million visits to the top 20 museums worldwide, up 1.2 percent
  • 75 million visits to the top 20 museums in Europe, Middle East and Africa, up 0.9 percent
  • 60 million visits to the top 20 amusement/theme parks in Europe, Middle East and Africa, down 1.1 percent
  • 59 million visits to the top 20 museums in Asia-Pacific, up 3.1 percent
  • 58 million visits to the top 20 museums in North America, up 1.8 percent
  • 30 million visits to the top 20 water parks worldwide, up 3.6 percent

About TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit membership association founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. 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 some 1,300 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the 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 for the 11th consecutive year on the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index. Through four regional Divisions, TEA supports the global attractions community. Visit http://www.teaconnect.org.

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 $17.4 billion during fiscal year 2016. See how we deliver what others can only imagine at http://www.aecom.com and @AECOM.

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