Theme Parks - US - June 2013
“The theme park industry is healthy and growth is forecast due to increasing attendance numbers and greater per diem expenditures in park. However, theme parks can grow revenues further by incorporating other forms of leisure entertainment – namely, gaming and the internet – into their offering. Theme parks also can improve guest satisfaction by alleviating wait times through technology and providing a more pleasant experience while waiting.”
– Fiona O’Donnell, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst
Some issues addressed in this report include:
- Fewer teens visiting theme parks compared with five years ago
- Gaming-based attractions could attract a new audience
- How should theme parks address waiting in lines?
- What regional parks can do to compete with destination parks
Unlike many other leisure markets that are just beginning to recover from the steep revenue declines experienced during the recession of 2008-09, the U.S. theme park industry has proven far more resilient. Despite a sluggish economy, revenues are estimated to have increased 17% from 2007-12 and are forecast to grow another 7.1% annually through 2017 to reach $17.95 billion.
Consumers’ increased confidence in the economy, major parks’ investment in new themed areas or renovations of existing parks, as well as a plethora of new rides and attractions are drawing visitors in record numbers, which is driving revenue growth for the industry.
For the purposes of this report, Mintel uses the terms “theme park” and “amusement park” synonymously. Both terms refer to a commercially operated park that offers rides, games, and other forms of live entertainment in exchange for an admission fee.
National parks, nature reserves, and other municipally operated amusements, such as zoos, museums, and aquariums, are not included in this definition.
The report includes analysis of “destination” as well as “regional” theme parks.
For the purposes of this report, “destination” parks are described as parks that attract visitors from around the world and are full attractions unto themselves and invest heavily in advertising and promotion across the U.S. These parks have multiple lodging choices on and off park property.
- Destination parks include: Disney parks (Disneyland, Disney World), Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Knott’s Berry Farm.
- “Regional” parks generally attract visitors from local areas, generally have a single park location, do not offer lodgings on park property, and do not advertise outside of their region.Regional parks include: Six Flags parks, Cedar Point, Dollywood, Hersheypark, Kings Island, and other local amusement parks.
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