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Analyses

Amusement parks, evolving destinations - Part 1

The year 2022 promises to be full of celebrations for amusements parks, with Disneyland Paris turning 30, Puy du Fou reaching 45 and Efteling celebrating 70 years. A sector that is reaching a certain maturity in different parts of the world, but which nevertheless continues to evolve and reinvent itself to continue to amaze young and old alike. New attractions, new equipment, new shows and new hotels are all major items of expenditure for the parks. In the meantime, the health crisis has hit the sector hard, forcing these major amusement destinations to close their doors for many months. How is the sector faring after two up-and-down years? Which parks have proved to be the most resilient and have continued despite everything to develop? What changes have been made to cope with increased competition and to meet the new expectations of visitors?

A sector with a strong economic impact

Thrill-seeking attracts all categories of customers, from families to groups of friends and couples. The fact that the number of visitors has been increasing for years, except during the Covid period, attests to the attractiveness of these amusement destinations. According to a report published by ResearchandMarkets.com, the global amusement park market had a turnover of $50.6 billion in 2019. And according to their estimates, this figure is expected to exceed the $99 billion mark by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.8% over the forecast period. The rapid expansion of the global amusement park market, particularly in Europe and Asia-Pacific, is also one of the main factors positively influencing market growth.

According to the ResearchandMarkets.com report, the European amusement park market had a turnover of around €5 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 2% between 2020 and 2027. Moreover, France is the leading European destination in this market, although competition is fierce from its German and Spanish neighbours. The market has grown strongly in France since 2015, reaching a record turnover of €2.3 billion in 2018 according to the Banque des territoires.

Whether on a global, European or even French level, Disney's theme parks amply dominate the market. The group has 11 parks spread over different continents, the majority of which are in the United States, the birthplace of its creator, and in Asia. The Disneyland Paris Park leads the way in both Europe and France, almost reaching the symbolic 10 million visitor mark in 2019. These parks benefit from a strong, world-renowned brand, ensuring that they are visited all year round.

In all three rankings, theme parks stand out in particular. If visitors are keen on combining amusement and thrill-seeking, they seem to love settings and characters that immerse them in a fantasy universe. Puy du Fou recorded its best attendance rate in 2019, as did Futuroscope, which continues to see the number of visitors increase year after year. However, the major amusement parks such as Europa Park or PortAventura World remain very attractive destinations and pull in millions of visitors each year, thanks in particular to their increasingly impressive attractions.

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