22 Feb 2018 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Leisure Opportunities issue 730, 2018 is now out!

Blogs:

Read blogs by writer:

Liz Terry
CEO,
Leisure Media

Kate Cracknell
editor-at-large,
Health Club Management

Tom Walker
Journalist,
Leisure Media

Our guest writers:

Aleatha Ezra
Director of park member development,
World Waterpark Association

Jennifer Fields
Communications Coordinator,
Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Brad Irwin
Partnerships development manager,
Natural History Museum

Michel Buchel
President of Ecsite and CEO of NEMO, Amsetrdan,
NEMO

Julie Becker
Communications and Events Manager,
Ecsite

Eva McDiarmid
Chief Executive,
ASVA

Kurt Janson
Policy Director,
Tourism Alliance

Peter Ducker
Chief executive,
Institute of Hospitality

Maria Zolotonosa
Project Manager,
Ecsite

Ian Taylor
CEO,
SkillsActive

Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive,
British Hospitality Association

John Goodbody
Sports Journalist

Sam Coulstock
Customer Relationship Director,
Springboard

Lucy Schweingruber
Fundraising and Events Manager,
Ecsite

View all guest writers

Snakes & Ladders

14 Aug 2015
by Liz Terry, CEO, Leisure Media
Attractions development requires that investors take a very long-term view and play the demographics and economic cycles tactically.

There’s a bouncy feel to the latest TEA/AECOM Theme and Museum Index (Attractions Management 2015 issue 3 page 42) which reports healthy growth in attendances across attractions sectors from museums to theme and water parks. AECOM, which did the research, says the top 25 amusement/theme parks grew attendances by 4.1 per cent in 2014, the top 20 waterparks by 2.8 per cent and the top 20 museums by 1.6 per cent. Increases were recorded on all continents.

Hidden within the numbers are factors which will turn the Top Ten Operator tables into a game of Snakes & Ladders over the next few decades. For example – as Universal is demonstrating with its rollout of Harry Potter attractions embracing the right IP can revitalise a mature business.

Universal saw a 10.4 per cent increase in year-on-year attendances as a result of the launch of its first Potter attraction in Orlando. More are following across its global estate, giving an impetus that could eventually see it overtake Merlin to take the number two slot.

On the other side of the equation, Merlin’s accident at its Alton Towers theme park in the UK (Attractions Management 2015 issue 3 page 32), hit attendances and the profitability of the group by £50m (US$77m, €71m).

Although Merlin will be buoyed by trading across its estate and the strength of its Legoland brand, the accident has been a setback and it will be interesting to see the positions of the two businesses when the numbers come in next year.

The growth of Asia – particularly China – is a major factor driving change. In spite of the recent currency devaluation, the scale of development is likely to dwarf what has gone before.

Perhaps even Disney’s seemingly unassailable lead in the market could be challenged over the next few decades.

Speaking at the China International Tourism Investment Conference, Wang Jianlin, chair of Wanda, said the company China’s biggest property developer – is aiming to overtake Disney as the world’s largest tourism-based business by 2020.

This isn’t an unfounded remark – Wanda has deep pockets and has been building a diverse global portfolio for years, with interests in areas from sport and broadcast to theme park development, hospitality, resorts and urban regeneration.

Wang said the company will develop Wanda Cities – vast indoor culture, entertainment and attractions hubs which will trade all year round. Fifteen are planned in China alone, each with projected visitor numbers of between 10 and 30 million a year. A global rollout is likely.

Attractions development requires that investors take a very long-term view and play the demographics and economic cycles tactically. With the market globalising at breakneck speed, the TEA/AECOM top ten table will see big changes over the next few decades as the bigger operators jostle for the top spots. Developments in Asia are being driven by consultants, designers and suppliers from the US and Europe and this will also evolve, as operators like Disney educate local sub contractors.

We expect Chinese companies to develop products and services which are marketable on the world stage, adding another new element of competition within the sector.



Tags: Attractions Management  heritage & museums  theme & waterparks  tourism  visitor attractions 

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