Thursday, June 19, 2014

PHOTOS - TEA at IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Beijing

Pictures taken at the TEA booth and the TEA mixer during IAAPA Beijing this week. The mixer was organized by the TEA Asia Pacific Division headed by Chris Yoshii of AECOM and included a formal announcement recapping the 2014 Thea Award recipients. Photos furnished by Ben Shedd (Professor) School of Art, Design and MediaNanyang Technological University, Singapore - and by Martin Palicki of InPark Magazine. Many thanks to Prof. Shedd, who is an acclaimed professional filmmaker, and to InPark, a media outlet that often covers and supports TEA, for sharing these.

L-R: Shenshen Luo, Ben Shedd, Michael Thayer, May Kan. Photo: Geovannic Goh

About 300 people attended the TEA mixer. Photo: Ben Shedd

Photo: Ben Shedd

Photo: Ben Shedd

Photo: Ben Shedd
Chris Yoshii, TEA COO Jennie Nevin and TEA president elect Steve Birket of Birket Engineering. Photo: Martin Palicki
At the TEA booth. Photo: Martin Palicki

Ben Shedd with Chris Yoshii. Photo: Ben Shedd

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TEA & AECOM Publish Global Theme Park & Museum Attendance Numbers for 2013

The annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, the definitive annual attendance study for the themed entertainment and museum industries, has been published.
Theme park numbers for calendar year 2013 show substantial growth internationally, with the top North American parks surpassing pre-recession days, water parks emerging in Latin America, Asia continuing to surge forward and the Middle East resuming development activity. Globally, the top theme park operators posted attendance growth of 5.4 percent overall, and the top 25 theme parks grew at a similar rate of 4.3 percent. The top museums also performed well, up over 7 percent internationally.

TEA on Twitter: @TEA_Connect

Published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM, this report is available free on the AECOM website at and on the TEA website at It will also be distributed in a print version and Chinese-language translation at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Beijing, June 17-20.

John Robinett, AECOM
John Robinett, senior vice president, economics, at AECOM, says, “There is a global rise in the importance of leisure as a driving influence in culture and economies. In the U.S., the leisure industry is now the number-two producer of jobs in the private sector after health care. In China, India, and increasingly in Latin America, this industry is growing at a rapid rate as middle class markets emerge. Barring major economic or social disruptions, this should continue into the future.”

Some key figures from the report:
  • 377 million visits to attractions run by the top 10 global theme park groups, up 5.4 percent
  • 215 million visits to the top 25 theme/amusement parks worldwide, up 4.3 percent
  • 135 million visits to the top 20 North American theme/amusement parks, up 2.7 percent
  • 117 million visits to the top 20 Asian theme/amusement parks, up 7.5 percent
  • 106 million visits to the top 20 worldwide museums, up 7.2 percent
  • 75 million visits to the top 20 European museums, up 4.6 percent
  • 58 million visits to the top 20 European theme/amusement parks, flat
  • 58 million visits to the top 20 North American museums, up 1.6 percent
  • 53 million visits to the top 20 Asian museums, up 27.6 percent
  • 27 million visits to the top 20 worldwide water parks, up 9.3 percent
The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is a collaboration of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the economics practice at AECOM, a global provider of technical-professional and management-support services. This calendar-year study of global attractions attendance is a free resource for park operators, land developers and the travel industry. Top worldwide theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, museums and theme park group operators are named, and industry trends are identified.

Christine Kerr, TEA
TEA president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions says, “Leisure and travel industries are maturing in the West and breaking new ground in the East. It's an exciting, creative time for our industry. We are honored to be partnering with AECOM for the seventh consecutive year on this annual study, a critical resource for anyone with an interest in the leisure and travel sector.”

Select quotes and figures – 2013 TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index
Full report available at: and

The Americas
Brian Sands, vice president, Economics, Americas, AECOM

Brian Sands, AECOM
“2013 represents the fourth straight year of growth in North American theme parks since the worst of the Great Recession. The estimated 135.1 million visits to the top 20 parks equates to 3.6 million more visits, 2.7 percent higher than in 2012. Compared to 2004 (115.4 million visits), the increase is 17 percent. By contrast, the U.S. population grew about half as quickly, at 9 percent, from 2004 to 2013. All major operators with significant operations in North America reported increased per-capita revenues, some markedly.”

“Latin America’s top theme/amusement parks saw 13.7 million visits in 2013, representing growth of 3.8 percent or 500,000 visits - good given the slowing of the Latin American economies, though it must be acknowledged that on a same park basis, growth was only about 1 percent.”
  • The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida grew by nearly 6.0 percent, maintaining its position as the most visited theme park in the world with a total of 18.6 million visits.
  • The opening this year of Transformers™: The Ride 3-D at Universal Studios Florida pushed attendance up significantly to an estimated 7.1 million visits in 2013, an increase of 14.0 percent.
  • Attendance at Disney California Adventure increased in 2013 by 9.5 percent to reach an estimated 8.5 million visits, driven by the continued strong appeal of Cars Land.
  • Both Cedar Fair and Six Flags identified season passes as major drivers for growth in their attendance in 2013.
Chris Yoshii, vice president, Economics, Asia-Pacific, AECOM
Beth Chang, regional director Economics, Asia-Pacific, AECOM

Chris Yoshii, AECOM
“2013 was a very strong year overall for theme parks and water parks in Asia. The top theme parks had a combined attendance increase of 7.5 percent. Water parks came in at a 6 percent increase - well above 2012 levels. The five parks with the greatest attendance increases (Tokyo Disneyland at 15.9 percent, Tokyo Disney Sea at 11.3 percent, Hong Kong Disneyland at 10.4 percent, Lotte World at 15.9 percent, and Seoulland at 8 percent) all added attractions and underwent expansions and/or renovations.”
  • Fantawild is number 9 on the Top 10 worldwide operators list after opening three new
    Beth Chang
    properties between 2012 and 2013.
  • Seoulland made it to the Top 20 Theme/Amusement Parks Asia-Pacific list for the first time, thanks to an attendance increase of 8 percent.
  • Chimelong Group opened its new destination theme park and resort Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China, receiving huge crowds.
  • All eyes are on Shanghai, as the much-anticipated late-2015 opening of Shanghai Disneyland approaches.
Europe & Middle East
Jodie Lock, senior analyst Economics, Europe, AECOM

“Overall performance at European theme parks was mixed in 2013, giving rise to yet another static year for the top 20 parks. The picture displays an aggregate stabilized attendance figure of 58 million visitors. The U.K. tourism sector had a fantastic year. But in Southern Europe, parks were prevented from reaching their full potential due to the challenging economic situation.”
  • Merlin Entertainments, operator of just over one-third of the top 20 European parks, performed extremely well in 2013, especially its U.K. parks.
  • Europa Park has moved up to the position of second-most-visited theme park in Europe, in place of Walt Disney Studios Park. Europa Park boosted attendance by 6.5% while attendance at the two Disney parks near Paris declined by 6.9% - illustrating the north/south divide in economic recovery.
  • An appetite for development has returned in the Middle East, particularly the U.A.E.
  • Dubai’s selection to host the 2020 World Expo is also triggering a new wave of development.
  • Another emerging economy to watch is Russia.
Linda Cheu, vice president, AECOM

Linda Cheu
“The top 20 museums worldwide showed 7.2 percent growth in attendance at an estimated 105.6 million visits, up from 98.5 million in 2012. With the economy improving, we’re seeing endowments starting to increase for those museums that have them - as well as earned income, now that visitors have more money to spend on leisure activities. The last five years have been a major wakeup call for museums in general - especially those dependent primarily on one income source.”
  • London's museums enjoyed a surge credited to the attention focused on the city during the Olympic Games the previous year.
  • Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, saw a 23.8-percent attendance increase from a record 732,339 visits to the Salvador Dali exhibition.
  • In Los Angeles, The California Science Center posted a 31.5-percent attendance increase due to its new acquisition, Space Shuttle Endeavour.
  • Double-digit attendance jumps at museums in Asia for 2013 can be credited either to a popular exhibit, or to significant renovations that produce a visitation surge on reopening.

About TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 8,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in some 1,000 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE conference (Story, Architecture, Technology, Experience). TEA produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index, TEA Annual & Directory and Thea Awards Program. Visit

AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 150 countries and had revenue of $8.0 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2013. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

For additional figures and analysis of global theme park attendance, links to previous editions of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index are available on the TEA blog

Send us your story links to share:

Press contacts:
Judith Rubin (PR & publications, TEA),
Jennie Nevin, TEA Chief Operating Officer

Brian Sands,
Erik Miller,

Monday, June 16, 2014

TEA president Christine Kerr describes vision for SATE '14 design conference Oct 2-3 in Sarasota FL

SATE co-chairs Aram Ebben (exp) & Stefan Lawrence (Rethink)
SATE '14 is a professional, international dialog on Experience Design, Oct 2&3, hosted by Florida State University at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. Organizer: Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). SATE '14 presenting sponsors are Christie and Electrosonic.

"Partnering with an educational institution - in this case Florida State University - gives our conference a level of validation and sets a benchmark for quality of the presentations. It also reinforces TEA's NextGen initiative and dialog with academics and students," says TEA president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions.

"As TEA serves the makers of compelling experiences and places, the location for SATE needs to be interesting and inspiring in its own right. The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and its location on Sarasota Bay certainly have this, with an estimable art collection and a circus museum, and splendid grounds and facilities. The historical connections between circus, live entertainment and themed entertainment make it all the more appropriate...."

Click here to read the complete interview on the SATE blog, and learn more details about SATE '14.

Photo: reception at SATE '13 - TEA president Christine Kerr in foreground

Thursday, June 12, 2014

London, June 17: TEA members invited to Leisure Tech Expo Mixer

Message from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Europe & Middle East Division:

LTE (Leisure Tech Expo) are holding their inaugural conference on 17th June 2014. They have extended an invitation to the TEA for members not attending the conference to join their post show mixer at: Slug and Lettuce O2 Arena, Greenwich, London SE10 0DY

June 17th from 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Should you wish to register for the conference you can do so at and quote code: LTE14DNA

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm, June 18: TEA members only! Behind the scenes tour, panel & mixer

Learn all about Camp Snoopy & the Calico Mine Ride
at Knott's Berry Farm!

VIP behind the scenes tour, panel discussion & mixer 
Organizer: Western N.A. Division, Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)

Wed June 18, 5:30-10:00 pm 
This event is restricted to TEA association members in good standing only.
Space is limited, so make your arrangements now!
Only 2 attendees per member company are allowed.
Click here for registration info. RSVP required by June 13.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index & Museum Index publication set for June 3

Publication of the TEA/AECOM 2013 Theme Index & Museum Index is set for today, June 3, 2014. It will be announced this morning via press release on the TEA Connect blog, and also on Please stay tuned.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Copenhagen, June 12-13: Visit Tivoli & Tycho Brahe with TEA

Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Europe & Middle East Division presents:
Thursday 12th and Friday 13th June 2014
A Professional Development excursion for members of the attractions industry

Register now for this unique event! 
Thursday at Tivoli Gardens:
Ride the renovated roller coaster in the morning (The Rutschebanen is one of the oldest roller coasters in the world), enjoy unstructured time in the afternoon, then mingle with colleagues at a mixer as the lights are turned on in the evening.

Friday at Tivoli & Tycho Brahe:

• A VIP tour of Tivoli Gardens
• A series of presentations from a group of invited speakers including Arne Kvorning, Tivoli Garden's Mogens C. Ramsloev and other world-class experience designers and experience economists.
• A visit to the Tycho Brahe Planetarium.
• Attendance: FREE for TEA association members in good standing; non-members may attend for a €25 fee ex VAT.

SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) is an annual, international gathering of themed entertainment and experience design creators, producers, owners and operators. As such, it explores issues, opportunities and possibilities relating to the creation of compelling guest experiences for entertainment, education, retail and branding. SATE is presented by the world's largest interest organization within this field, Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

In 2014, the European and Middle Eastern Division of TEA brought a one-day version of SATE on the road throughout Europe and the Middle East with SATE Academy Days. Following events in Amsterdam, Dubai and Snowdon, now it's Copenhagen's turn, with an event themed "Experience" while celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Tivoli Garden's newly updated roller coaster, complete with snow-covered mountain tops.

Burbank, June 3: Ladies of the TEA networking event

Roberta Perry of ETI, past president of the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), invites women of the theme park and visitor attractions industry to gather for an evening of networking, for fun and business

Ladies of the TEA

Tuesday June 3, 2014
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM PDT

Daily Grill at the Marriott (Bob Hope Airport)
2500 Hollywood Way
Burbank, CA 91505

Please RSVP:
Register Now!
I can't make it

Questions? Contact Roberta:
Edwards Technologies, Inc.
+1 310-536-7070

Orlando Sentinel interviews TEA president-elect Steve Birket of Birket Engineering

Steve Birket, PE, of Birket Engineering, who will step up to the presidency of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) in November 2014, was interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel's Jason Garcia, who specializes in writing about the theme park industry.

Garcia: What was the most important lesson you learned working at Disney or Universal?
Birket: The thing that comes to mind, I guess, is the first day I worked as a project manager for Walt Disney Imagineering. The program manager to whom I reported leaned over close to my face and said, "Nothing negative."

...Read the full interview here.