Title: Europe’s Theme Parks

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War – particularly coupled with a globally sluggish economic system – has a contradictory impact on the consumption of leisure. Disposable incomes plummet curbing the gross sales of medium to huge ticket objects comparable to cruises and resort holidays.


Article Body:
War – particularly coupled with a globally sluggish economic system – has a contradictory impact on the consumption of leisure. Disposable incomes plummet curbing the gross sales of medium to huge ticket objects comparable to cruises and resort holidays. But individuals – besieged by nervousness and dangerous information – additionally want to be diverted. As the battle rages, they keep indoors and tune in. Home leisure booms. But as soon as bodily insecurity abates, customers exit in full pressure mobbing film theatres and theme parks, making up for misplaced time and frayed nerves.

A Solomon Smith Barney report, revealed in December 2002, concluded that enormous cap leisure shares plunged by 32 p.c throughout the earlier skirmish within the Gulf. Stocks of vacation spot journey websites and cruise traces took a good harsher beating, plummeting by 52 p.c – this regardless of the counterintuitive resilience of amusement parks to army and political unrest.

In anticipation of the subsequent spherical of preventing, these shares are buying and selling at valuations under even the traumatic tail of 2001. Though faster than different kinds of fairness to get better postbellum, this holds true just for quick and decisive conflicts.

Analysts usually monitor the efficiency of theme and amusement parks to divine tendencies within the business as a complete. This would show not possible in Europe the place the tradition of theme and leisure grounds continues to be in its infancy.

Denmark has Legoland and Tivoli. France boasts the not too long ago recovering Disneyland, Vulcania and Futuroscope. Germany has Phantasialand. Italy sports activities Gardaland. Spain joins the continent’s minimal choices with Port Aventura and Terra Mitica. The Dutch De Efteling spent the final decade “Americanizing” its amenities.

Only the United Kingdom has greater than a smattering “pleasure seashores” and “worlds of journey”. A not too long ago mooted Dracula theme park in Romania was shot down by irate residents and an overweening paperwork. “New Europe” isn’t any higher than “Old Europe” in relation to entrepreneurship.

In each market penetration and spending per customer, Europe is a minimum of a decade behind the USA. Indeed, the eerie paucity of theme parks is symptomatic of the widely moribund, inflexible and hyper-regulated economies of the European Union. The continent has lower than half America’s variety of parks per 10 million denizens and one third its visits per head per 12 months.

Only 20 main European points of interest garner greater than 1 million in annual attendance. Another 50 or so appeal to lower than 1 million patrons. With revenues of c. $2 billion, Europe’s parks mixed quantity to 1 third the sector within the USA and underperform many parks in Asia as nicely.

European corporations are nonetheless woefully primitive in relation to advertising and marketing and educating their public. According to the Economic Research Associates, a consultancy, enterprise capital is uncommon and often squandered by builders on wages and different “mushy”, non-productive prices. Management is inexperienced and peripatetic.

In Asia, theme parks are thought-about the magic capsule. Japan has Disney World and the Tokyo DisneySea Park. Disney is slated to open a large franchise in Hong Kong in 2005. Mainland China is eyeing the experiment favorably. Universal Studios countered by inaugurating a themed playground in Osaka in 2001 and by embarking on three feasibility research in China.

From Jakarta, Indonesia (the Taman Ria amusement park) to Vietnam – everyone seems to be climbing on the bandwagon. There appears to be a dearth of American curiosity in Europe regardless of its far larger buying energy and the existence of a single enterprise handle – the European Commission.

Theme parks are multifarious companies. They present work to thousand of small suppliers in a virtuous ripple impact. Hosting and gaming specialists, entrepreneurs, managers, on-site workers, suppliers of logistics, meals retailers and caterers, entertainers – all profit mightily from the presence of such grounds. The park’s model is usually parlayed into trinkets, toys, garments and souvenirs bought by locals to vacationers, each home and international.

Destination journey is a progress sector.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, a commerce group, reported that worldwide park attendance was up one quarter between 1991-2001 to 319 million individuals. During this decade, revenues perked up by 50 p.c to virtually $10 billion yearly. This was largely attributable to an increase in per capita spending inside the grounds from $23 to $30. Returns on – often huge – investments are spectacular even in saturated markets such because the United States.

The profitability of theme parks steadily balances losses spawned by extra glamorous bits of leisure teams. Amusement grounds – themed or not – are astoundingly resistant to geopolitical upheavals. Attendance in Disney’s US parks declined by solely c. 5 p.c throughout the 1991 Gulf War. Even September 11 didn’t dent it measurably.

EuroDisney is partly guilty for the shortage of themed parks in Europe. For a few years it was perceived, fairly accurately, as an insatiable white elephant gulping rivers of crimson ink. Reality moved on however impressions – fostered by smug pundits – lasted. Wary buyers and governments all through the Old Continent confined themselves to the largely family-operated “backyard parks” and “carnival grounds” constructed throughout the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies.

The reality is that Disney’s Parisian journey is flourishing. The leisure behemoth is planning to speculate c. $540 million in Walt Disney Studios, an annex of the French outfit. This is projected so as to add 5 million guests to the present 12.

Another glad investor is Six Flags. The operator not too long ago expanded to Mexico and Europe the place it runs the six websites of the previous Walibi Parks and Movie world, an erstwhile Warner Bros. property in Germany. It quickly added a Spanish Movie World to its portfolio. Non-US operations already account for 15 p.c of its gross sales.

But these are the exceptions that show the rule. Europe is staid and severe. It prefers indigenous high-brow tradition to American low-brow imports. Or so the French would have us all imagine.

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