Five Splash Radio partners named top waterparks in America by Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM: Schlitterbahn - New Braunfels, Schlitterbahn - Galveston, Wet'N'Wild Splashtown, Wet N' Wild - Phoenix, and Typhoon Texas.
It is the 10 year anniversary of the TEA/ AECOM Theme Index, and what a year it has been. The top attraction operators saw growth of over 7%, with the Top 25 theme parks achieving over 5% growth — tremendous numbers for a relatively mature industry. Over our 10 years of tracking the industry we have seen steady improvements in business volume, despite a global recession, introduction of exciting new technologies, and continued internationalization of the attractions world.
This year, global theme park attendance was driven largely by strong performance of the major Asian and U.S. operators, including Chimelong, SongCheng, Disney and Universal. Water parks saw healthy attendance improvements of almost 4% with most markets doing well. Finally, museums, while having a few standouts with double digit growth such as the Hermitage in Russia, and the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, held steady overall.
So what specific changes have occurred in the business over the last 10 years? Three areas stand out — Industry volume, distribution, and ownership.
As you can see opposite, industry volume as measured by theme park attendance has grown steadily, both organically and through new park additions. Attendance at the top 25 parks grew from 187 M in 2006 to 236 M in 2015, with a 2.6% annual growth rate. At the 18 parks that were in the list continuously over this period, attendance grew from 151 M in 2006, to 192 M in 2015, equal to a 2.7% growth rate.
The geographic distribution of attractions has moved east across the globe with Asia‑Pacific now capturing 42% of the world's major attractions, up from 35% 10 years ago.
And with regard to ownership, while the industry has certainly welcomed a number of high quality new operators, market share has actually consolidated under the two majors, Disney and Universal.
It has been a good decade overall, and we look forward to what the next one will bring.