The Covid-19 pandemic is having a drastic impact on tourism worldwide. And this is the case for all subsectors of the industry, including one more very specific one – theme park tourism.
In this context, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM have decided to measure the effects of the pandemic on amusement parks around the world in their Global Attractions Attendance Report. And the results are somewhat worrying.
According to the data collected, the number of theme park visitors decreased by 50 to 90 % worldwide last year due to lockdowns, travel restrictions and other official hygiene measures.
On average, the attendance at the top 25 most-visited parks fell by 67.2 %, falling from 253.7 million in 2019 to 83.1 million last year.
The US with Worst Numbers, Asia Better Off
The biggest decreases were seen in North America, in particular in the United States. Generally, there was a decrease in attendance by 72.3 % to 44.1 million visitors.
Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Universal Studios Hollywood were the most affected parks, having registered attendance drops of about 80 %. The main reason for this is that Californian theme parks were not allowed to open last year from the beginning of the pandemic in March.
The most popular theme park in North America, Magic Kingdom Theme Park in Lake Buena Vista, on the other hand, did somewhat better, registered a drop of “only” 66.9 % in terms of attendance.
Meanwhile, the most popular parks in Asia suffered a decrease in attendance by 57.9 % to 59.5 million theme parks visitors. The most affected parks were Disneyland Tokyo and Universal Studios Singapore, both with a decrease of over 75 %.
European Parks Struggling Too
European parks, in the meantime, registered a decrease of 65.6 % to 22.2 million. In particular, Disneyland in Paris saw a drop of 73.1 % in attendance, while Legoland in Windsor welcomed 81.5 % fewer visitors in 2020.
German theme parks were somewhat better off. The biggest one in the country, the Europa-Park, saw a 56.5 % decrease in visitors, while Legoland in Gunzburg registered a fall of 55.9 %.
Spanish parks, on the other hand, struggled more, as Portaventura World and Parque Warner registered a fall in attendance by 81.3 % and 79.8 %, respectively.
2022 a Year of Recovery?
Although the previous year was negative in terms of the number of theme parks visitors, 2021 could be a “bounce-back year” for the entire sector, at least according to the report.
Afterwards, 2022 could bring real recovery in the theme park industry, despite the operation being still limited in some ways.
In 2023, on the other hand, the expectations of visitors are set to rise and there will be pressure on new theme parks to open, while the already-existing parks will have to come up with new rides and attractions.