TEA/AECOM 2021 Theme Index and Museum Index – Cover

2021 has shown that the leisure industry is resilient in the face of adversity.

2021 marked a year of recovery for global attractions, as theme parks, water parks and museums continued to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Despite the continued impacts of COVID, the successful deployment of the vaccine, the easing of capacity restrictions and the simplification of travel in most parts of the world have resulted in increased visitor numbers in almost all areas. Although some consumers are still shying away from large bands – especially in indoor venues – the market has returned to a relatively successful “rebound” year with heightened performance expectations in 2022.

Details of this “path to recovery” can be found in the 2021 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, the definitive resource for information on attendance at the most visited theme parks, water parks and museums. in the world, now in its 16th annual edition. editing. This annual calendar year study is conducted in conjunction with the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM’s Economic Practice. The new 2021 edition was officially published on October 14, 2022. This report and all previous editions up to 2006 can be downloaded in their entirety free of charge at TEA’s website and AECOM website.

“The TEA/AECOM Subject Index and Museum Index are an annual guide to the global entertainment industry,” said Chuck Fawcett, Chairman of Medici XD’s TEA International Board of Directors. “Developers and policy makers around the world regularly turn to the TEA/AECOM subject index. for key information and statistics on theme parks, water parks and museums. TEA appreciates its continued partnership with AECOM and its ability to provide this valuable resource to our business community.

The 2021 TEA/AECOM Thematic Index and Museum Index studies the industry by region – the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), in addition to the global market as a whole and of the main operators. The report presents and discusses the continued effects of the pandemic on the industry in 2021 and subsequent signs of recovery and increased innovation underway.

“2021 has shown that the leisure industry is resilient in the face of adversity,” said John Robinett, senior vice president of AECOM’s Economics + Advisory practice. “Pent-up demand is driving a return to leisure destinations. Impressively, some operators saw an increase in spending and revenue per capita that was approaching 2019 levels.

“If we look at the five-year pre-COVID average (2015-2019) and compare it to the 2021 numbers, we see that in many parts of the world we are already approaching these historic levels. We are seeing even more improvement in attendance in 2022 in almost every region and the parks are already responding by investing in new attractions for 2023 and beyond, which is truly a sign of a healthy industry.


Among theme parks and water parks, North America outperformed all other markets thanks in part to reduced government restrictions and slower COVID variants during the critical summer season. For theme parks, this translated to a 136% increase over 2020. Water parks performed even better, achieving a 177% increase over 2020. The concentration of the region’s top parks in Florida was operating with few government restrictions, although they saw a slower return of international visitors. throughout the year.

“Theme parks and water parks were eager to welcome customers back, many with self-imposed capacity restrictions and other measures to instill customer confidence,” said Francisco Refuerzo, economist at AECOM. “As the year progressed, many major theme park operators and chains, including Disney, Universal, Six Flags, Cedar Fair and SeaWorld, continued to increase capital spending and announced plans for 2022. , 2023 and beyond.”


The Asia-Pacific region saw a 29% increase in theme park attendance; water parks only saw an 8% increase from 2020. Most of the challenges came from China’s strict COVID protocols limiting travel and imposing quarantines. Although other parks in the region have fared better, much of the region’s tourism depends on Chinese visitors. As China continues to focus on its Zero COVID policy in 2022, this region is expected to continue at a slower pace of recovery than elsewhere in the world.

“Parks in the Asia-Pacific region have used a variety of methods to help draw local residents through their doors, including discounted tickets, new season pass programs and exclusive events,” Beth said. Chang, executive director of AECOM’s economic practice for its Asia-Pacific region. . “Reinvestment strategies continue through 2022, which is a good indicator of future growth. Additionally, we are beginning to see the expected industry consolidation as the market matures, particularly in China.


In EMEA, total attendance increased by 63% for major theme parks and 24% for major water parks. The main causes included the lack of international visitors and the prevalence of indoor water parks in Europe. Parks catering primarily to regional markets performed better than those more dependent on tourism. Impressively, Merlin Entertainments, a worldwide amusement and parks operator, reported 2021 revenues above 2019 figures for some of its properties, indicating increased per capita spending and underlying demand for a return to places of recreation.

“We are seeing green roots of recovery for the EMEA region,” said Jodie Lock, associate director of economic development in AECOM’s London office. “The UK has done particularly well since many of its parks are already tapping into a local market. Expo 2020 Dubai has successfully attracted millions of people to the Middle East in 2021 and 2022. This tourism boost is expected to have a positive impact on park numbers in this region in the years to come.


The indoor nature of most of the world’s museums is one reason why collective attendance at the world’s top 20 museums is only up 32% from 2020, with 2021 levels still just shy of 2020. to around 29% of 2019 pre-pandemic attendance figures. Facilities with outdoor exhibits, such as sculpture gardens, fared better.

Museums in the United States returned to successful traveling exhibitions more quickly, which was correlated with better attendance. Museums in major tourist markets, including Washington DC and Europe, have tended to fare less well due to declining international tourism.

A pivot to online programming has helped museums stay connected to visitors, schools and, most importantly, donors.

“The lack of school tour groups negatively impacted many facilities in 2021, but museums have managed to continue to educate their communities throughout the pandemic,” said Linda Cheu, vice president of the practice. Economics + AECOM Consulting. “We are already seeing positive benefits from this work as groups return to museums in 2022. Continued investment in special exhibitions and unique events will continue to drive increased attendance in the museum market. There were also many museum openings around the world in 2021 despite the pandemic. »


The TEA’s website and AECOM website are the official sources for viewing and free downloading the latest full version of the TEA/AECOM Thematic Index and Museum Index 2021, as well as previous reports dating back to 2006.


“The TEA/AECOM Subject Index and Museum Index is considered one of the industry’s most valuable reports, supporting TEA’s mission to educate and enrich its members and the industry,” said TEA chief executive Lindsey Nelson. statistics, industry background and information it provides. TEA is pleased to continue its longstanding collaboration with AECOM to produce this annual report.

Since 2006, TEA and AECOM have collaborated to produce and publish the annual TEA/AECOM subject index and make the report freely available as a resource and reference for business and education. It was expanded to include the Museum Index in 2012. The TEA/AECOM Subject Index and Museum Index is a definitive and widely cited global resource for the benefit of the international attractions industry and many other sectors, including finance, real estate, education, hospitality, retail, travel. , and tourism. It is an essential reference for the media. It is published in PDF format in English and Chinese versions on the TEA and AECOM websites, and in a limited print edition.


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Our members bring the experience of engaging storytelling and entertainment to countless theme parks, water parks, museums, wildlife attractions, casinos, hotels/resorts, restaurants, retail stores, sports/entertainment venues and an ever-growing list of destinations that aim to bring a higher level of experiences to visitors around the world. Visit http://www.teaconnect.org. #TEAthemeindex @tea_connect


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