Theme park attendance was a roller coaster in 2021



Last yr was a roller coaster journey for theme parks worldwide, with U.S. water parks approaching pre-pandemic ranges and parks in China scuffling with lockdowns, in keeping with a new report.

The pace of restoration was drastically influenced by the extent of presidency restrictions, the success of vaccine rollouts and client confidence ranges, in keeping with the TEA/AECOM 2021 Theme Index and Museum Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report.

The annual report, which was launched final Friday, often ranks theme parks by attendance however held off on doing that in the 2021 report due to disparities in working situations worldwide — and even inside nations. Instead, it in contrast 2021 attendance with pre-pandemic 2019 attendance. Many of the theme parks do not launch attendance figures, and for those who do not, the index used monetary experiences, native tourism teams and funding banking experiences to calculate them.

In the U.S. final yr, theme parks recaptured about two-thirds of their attendance from 2019, however the yr marked an upward trajectory with attendance rising by 134% over figures from 2020, when most theme parks have been shuttered for a number of months in an effort to restrict the unfold of the brand new coronavirus, in keeping with the report.

But even in the U.S., theme parks operated underneath completely different situations in 2021, even once they have been owned by the identical firm. For occasion, the Florida parks owned by Universal had larger attendance than these in California as a result of Florida’s COVID-19 restrictions ended earlier.

Because COVID-19 restrictions restricted visits from worldwide travellers, U.S. theme parks relied extra on their native markets and emphasised season cross gross sales. The pandemic compelled many theme parks to develop advance reservation techniques and dynamic pricing, which has added to the underside line, the report mentioned.

U.S. water parks approached their pre-pandemic figures due to their shorter season, which lined up with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, entry to vaccinations and earlier than the omicron wave peaked, the report mentioned.

Many U.S. theme parks additionally have been investing in new rides, similar to SeaWorld, which introduced Tuesday that it’ll open three new coasters subsequent yr. A surfing-like coaster will open in Orlando, a coaster in which riders straddle their seats like a motorbike is slated for San Diego and a flume coaster is about for San Antonio.

“Responding to visitor expectations for brand spanking new points of interest and capital will likely be key for 2023 and past,” the report mentioned.

The theme park with the most important attendance worldwide in 2019, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, had 12.6 million guests in 2021, about 60% of its attendance two years earlier, however an 82% bounce over 2020, the report mentioned.

Attendance on the subsequent busiest theme park, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., was solely 45% of its pre-pandemic stage in 2021, however up 133% over 2020. The park drew 8.5 million guests in 2021, in keeping with the report.

Attendance at Chinese theme parks in 2021 was about half of what it was pre-pandemic, and solely about 25% above 2020 figures.

“China, the engine behind Asia’s progress in current years, struggled with lockdowns, quarantines, and journey restrictions,” the report mentioned.


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