Leading theme parks in the U.S. witnessed slow growth in 2016

Published on : Monday, November 6, 2017

theme parksThe leading theme parks in the United Stated witnessed a growth of less than 1% representing the slowest rate witnessed in the last five years but then tourism analysis states that a more robust growth lies ahead.


Hurricane Matthew and a strong U.S. dollar that checked foreign tourists from travelling are some of the chief reasons why the attendance was relatively flat in the year 2016 according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, who mentioned it this month.


The association feels that the weak economy in Brazil and the perception that tourists from Latin America are unwelcome has also played a crucial role.


Theme parks based in the U.S. boasted of more than 117 million visitors last year.


They were capable of drawing nearly 116 million in 2015 when the park attendance had accelerated by 6.5% from 2014 that is quite a decent high in the recent years as per a report from the consultant of the association.


An industry expert argued that theme parks would be growing faster than that prediction particularly as Disney expects to open Star Wars-themed attractions in 2019 in Florida and California.


The President of the Ohio-based International Theme Park Services consulting firm, Dennis Speigel mentioned that it would definitely be going to b a run for money for Disney.


The attendance at the most favored U.S. theme parks is estimated to rise to nearly 2% in 2018, then 3% and 2% in 2019 and 2020, as mentioned in the report.


And this year’s forecast is believed to be the same as last year’s, to about 118.3 million visitors. Hurricane Irma had compelled theme parks to shut down for two days in September and the exchange rates have also remained an important factor. The report went on to state that if the U.S. dollar continues to remain expensive the destinations parks based in United States would find it really challenging to lure international visitors.


But at large theme parks like the Magic Kingdom of Disney that records a footfall of about 20 million people every year, it is tough to obtain significant year-over-year increases as asserted by the University of Central Florida associate hospitality professor Duncan Dickson who follows the theme park industry.


He thinks that the theme parks of U.S. are not really confronting a sluggish growth and added that theme parks are currently reinvesting in their attractions and global theme park spending is surpassing the global nominal GDP  offering the industry a positive outlook.


This IAAPA report by New York-based consultant Wilkofsky Gruen Associates arrives a few weeks prior to about 32,000 theme park operators, ride manufacturers and others associated in the industry would convene in Orlando during the annual convention of the association.


The report took into consideration leading destination parks in the nation including Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure as well as Walt Disney World. The others were Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Orlando.


Moreover the consultant had also assessed California parks like Universal Studios Hollywood, Disney California Adventure and Disneyland.


The report also stated that the Universal Studios Hollywood has been the best performer due to the 2016 opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


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