TEA and AECOM Release 2017 Report on World’s Top-Attended Theme Parks, Waterparks and Museums

The major theme park operators had an outstanding year with significant overall growth led largely by properties in China.

May 17, 2018 — The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM have released the 2017 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index. This annual study shows growth and evolution in the global themed entertainment industry by charting attendance numbers and trends of the world’s top-attended theme parks, water parks and museums, plus analysis by AECOM researchers. The report studies the sector by region (The Americas, Asia-Pacific, EMEA), the global market as a whole and the top operators (Disney, Merlin, Universal, OCT, Fantawild, etc.).

“The industry resumed its historic pace of growth in 2017,” said John Robinett, Senior Vice President, Americas, AECOM. “Major theme park operators had an outstanding year with significant overall growth led largely by properties in China.”

“The Chinese market has responded enthusiastically to high-quality theme park offerings, as demonstrated by the success of the Chimelong parks and of Shanghai Disneyland in its first full year of operation, with Universal Beijing on the horizon,” said Chris Yoshii, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, AECOM. More details on the performance and trends in the Asia-Pacific region can be found in the report.

In the United States, theme parks and amusement parks had a good year and showed that there is still plenty of room for growth and innovation in this mature market. Disney and Universal parks performed well due to major reinvestments such as Pandora – The World of Avatar (Disney) and Volcano Bay (Universal). “Disney is leveraging the power of compelling intellectual property (IP) with Pandora — and new Star Wars lands on the horizon — as did Universal with the Harry Potter attractions, and both set a leading example for the industry,” said Brian Sands, Vice President, Americas.

The trend to develop immersive attractions based on IP is ongoing and being explored globally. Other trends seen in all regions of the increasingly global attractions industry documented by the TEA/AECOM Theme Index include continuing investment and innovation in water parks, hospitality expansion and interactive guest experiences with role playing.

In Europe, parks in France (Parc Asterix, Disneyland Paris), The Netherlands (De Efteling) and Northern Europe (Grona Lund) did particularly well, with mixed results in other regions. “Throughout Europe, we see an active and growing industry with ongoing investment and merger and acquisition activity,” said Margreet Papamichael, Director, EMIA, AECOM. Considerable theme park development continues in the United Arab Emirates. “The pipeline in this part of the world is still significant,” says Papamichael.

This is the 6th year since the study was expanded to include the Museum Index, charting the world’s top-attended museums. The 2017 report includes a deep dive into Japan’s museum sector which is one of the best performing in the world, and a look at some museums in US and Europe that did particularly well in 2017, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., and the Louvre in Paris, which returned to the top global position. “Data continues to demonstrate that year to year museum attendance is significantly affected by special exhibits and expansions,” said Linda Cheu, Vice President, Americas, AECOM.

“On the whole, 2017 reflected a return to healthy growth with significant capital expenditures in the industry, both in traditional attractions, attraction-adjacent hotels, and new, IP-branded indoor attractions,” said Robinett. “With stabilized global economies, and significant planning occurring now for future investment, prospects look good for the industry in the short- to mid-term.”

KEY NUMBERS: Click to see a list of key numbers from the 2017 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT – The official sources to view and download the latest version of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index (as well as past reports dating to 2006) are the TEA website and AECOM website.

“The TEA/AECOM Theme Index provides a clear picture of the global attractions industry and its continued expansion,” said David Willrich, TEA International Board President. “This is fully consistent with TEA’s own international outreach and global growth. We value our partnership with AECOM.”

“We’re delighted to continue our longstanding collaboration with AECOM to produce the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index every year,” said Jennie Nevin, TEA COO. “As an international membership organization serving the creators of compelling places and experiences, we see the Theme Index as helping to educate and enrich the industry.”

The annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index is a definitive and widely cited global resource benefiting the international attractions industry and many other sectors including financial, real estate, education, hospitality, retail, travel and tourism. It is a vital reference for the media.

TEA and AECOM have collaborated to produce and publish the Theme Index since 2006, and to make the report available free as a service to the international attractions industry. It is available in PDF format in English and Chinese language versions, on the TEA and AECOM websites, and in a limited print edition.

About the Themed Entertainment Association
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international, nonprofit membership association founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, CA USA. TEA’s 1500+ member companies encompass some 14,000 creative specialists working in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the SATE conference on Experience Design. TEA also produces a variety of print and electronic publications, and is pleased to collaborate with AECOM every year on the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index. TEA has four regional Divisions serving the industry worldwide. Visit www.TEAconnect.org. On Twitter: @tea_connect.

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 $18.2 billion during fiscal year 2017. See how we deliver what others can only imagine at aecom.com and @AECOM.

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