The Arts Mean Business: Breaking Down the Arts and Economic Prosperity V Report

June 26, 2017

The numbers are in, and they are staggering. 

  • • In 2015, the arts and culture sector brought in $166.3 billion in economic activity.
  • • $63.8 billion of that activity was direct spending by the arts and cultural organizations.
  • • $102.4 billion was spending generated by audiences, both directly on event admissions, and indirectly on items such as food, beverage, retail, parking, and babysitting. 
  • • When expanded to include the commercial, for-profit, and educational arts institutions, as well as individual artists, the arts and culture industry contributed $730 billion (4.2%) to the nation's 2015 GDP - more than transportation, tourism, agriculture, and construction. 

All images courtesy Americans for the Arts

These impressive findings are a result of the recently released Arts and Economic Prosperity (AEP5) study, published by Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that "serves, advances, and leads the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America." For this fifth version of the study, Americans for the Arts included findings from 341 study regions, 14,439 organizations, and 212,591 audience spending surveys. 

AEP5 analyzes spending both by arts and cultural institutions directly (on labor and materials) and by the audiences who attend arts events (not just on admissions, but on dining, retail, babysitting, local transportation, and overnight accommodations). It measures three main economic factors impacted by these spending activities: full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, household resident income, and total government revenue. 

The level of economic activity generated by the arts and culture sector has risen $29 billion since the previous AEP study, conducted in 2010. In fact, all three of the economic factors in the study have increased, both on the organizational and audience spending sides. These increases appear to indicate that the nonprofit arts and culture industry has largely emerged from the Great Recession and that disposable incomes have rebounded to a level in which patrons are again willing to spend their time and money on arts and cultural events. 

Jobs, Household Income, and Government Revenue

  • • The arts support 4.6 million jobs, compared with just over 4.1 million in 2010. The number of FTE jobs generated by organizations and audiences is roughly equivalent. 
  • • Arts and cultural institutions support .83% of the US workforce - a greater percentage than that of the legal or public safety sectors. 
  • • Cultural organizations and arts patrons support a combined $96.07 billion in resident household income, up nearly $10 million from 2010. 
  • • As a result of the above, the industry generates a combined total of $27.5 billion in government revenue (a more than 5:1 ROI versus the government funds they are allocated on an annual basis). 

"Arts and cultural organizations provide rewarding employment for more than just artists, curators and musicians," said the study. "They also directly support builders, plumbers, accountants, printers and an array of occupations spanning many industries." 

 Audience Spending and Tourism

Arts and cultural institutions are not only a draw for locals, but also a valuable tourism draw. According to the study, local arts patrons (comprising 66% of all arts patrons surveyed) spend $31.47 per person per event, beyond the cost of admission, on such items as child care, ground transportation, and meals, a figure up $7 from 2010. The other 34% surveyed, comprising nonlocal attendees, spend more than twice as much per person, understandable when adding transportation and overnight accommodations to the mix. Of those out-of-town audience members, 2/3rds responded that an arts event was the primary purpose of their visit. On the flip side, 41% of resident artsgoers said that if a particular arts event weren't happening in their community, they would travel to another community to attend.

Research from the US Department Commerce and other agencies show that arts and cultural travelers spend more, stay longer, are more likely to purchase accommodations, and are more likely to spend $1,000 or more during their stay than other travelers. Bottom line? If cities don't have arts amenities, not only do they miss out on tourist revenue, but they also lose local dollars, as residents spend their tourism money elsewhere.

Making the Argument 

As we've reported previously, museums and other nonprofit organizations are often loquacious in describing their "soft value" - contributions to education, entertainment, community building, and the like. Where they often fall short is communicating their economic value with hard numbers - an increasingly important metric as funding sources become more scarce and audiences demand more bang for their discretionary buck. 

Nonprofit arts organizations provide places for entertainment and enrichment, but they also hire local workers, purchase locally made goods, and attract tourists to local restaurants, hotels, and dining establishments. All of these economic activities generate revenue for their hometowns. The numbers in the Arts and Economic Prosperity V study support the notion that museums and culture institutions aren't just memory makers for families, but money makers for the local, state and national economy. Facts in hand, it's time to spread the message.

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The Friday Fives: Traveling to the Moon (and Disneyland) with Elizabeth McClain

June 23, 2017

Elizabeth McClain

Elizabeth McClain

For the last of our co-op Friday Fives, we ask five questions of SCAD student Elizabeth McClain. Elizabeth, who holds a BFA in communication design from Syracuse University and is currently pursuing her MFA in Themed Entertainment Design, believes that "the best design is one that starts with a strong story and can incite positive change." Here's what else she has to say:











 My favorite entertainment experience...

Photo courtesy LA Times.

Earlier this month, I traveled to California with a group of SCAD students to learn more about the themed entertainment industry first-hand. On this ‘study abroad’ trip we were able to go behind-the-scenes of both Disney and Universal’s west coast theme parks, tour the offices of top creative companies, and meet an array of influential industry leaders. The most memorable moment was getting to see a tech rehearsal of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts™, Universal’s latest, awe-inspiring projection show, which premieres at Universal Studios Hollywood this weekend! As a whole, the trip was an incredible learning experience that I will never forget.

My favorite part of the design process... 
I enjoy the creative challenges that the design process can present, but for me, the real reward comes when the design is implemented and the public can interact with and learn from it - and hopefully enjoy it too!

My favorite attraction... 

Photo courtesy SoCal Attractions 360

...Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean dark rides, hands down. I may be biased, as the subsequent franchise is one of my favorites, but the boat ride has many qualities that I enjoy in an attraction: a relaxed atmosphere, great music, and action-packed scenes rich with detail. Though I’ve only seen YouTube videos of the latest version, Shanghai Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure”, I was amazed by the attraction's elaborate sets and technological feats and hope to experience it in person one day.

My favorite part about my career...
Being able to work on fun projects and always learning something new.

My dream vacation...

A trip to the moon! (It could happen someday, right?)

To learn more about Elizabeth, check out her TEA NextGen Profile. Many thanks to all of our summer co-ops for participating in the Friday Fives, and welcome to the team!

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The Mind's Eye Generates Buzz, Press Coverage at Asian Attractions Expo

June 19, 2017

"The Mind's Eye", an exhibition on illusions and human perception, opened at Science Centre Singapore this week just in time for the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo. The gallery launched with great fanfare via two press conferences and a public launch party and is already generating plenty of media buzz. 

"The Mind's Eye" features 30 exhibits that capture the imagination of the visitor and explore the science behind optical illusions. The curated pieces, featuring artists from around the globe, manipulate how humans observe and make sense of objects and environments and challenge them to reconsider what is real and unreal. JRA provided planning, concept and schematic design for the gallery. Also featured in the exhibiton is "Mr. Crackitt's Light Fantastic", a mirror maze attraction produced by Adrian Fisher Design Limited that is touted as the largest mirror maze in Asia. 

L-to-R: Augustus Goh (SPACElogic), Adrian Fisher (Adrian Fisher Design Ltd.), A/Prof Lim Tit Meng (Science Centre Singapore) and Keith James (JRA)

Keith James welcomes the crowd at "The Mind's Eye" Launch Party.

Dozens of friends, fans and colleagues attended "The Mind's Eye" Launch Party at Science Centre Singapore. 

Over a dozen media outlets attended Tuesday's press conference, with many dozens more attending the evening launch party. Wednesday morning, the JRA booth and surrounding aisles of the Asian Attractions Expo show floor were packed with press representatives, IAAPA board members, curious onlookers and even Singapore's Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ms. Low Yen Ling. Members of the creative team, including JRA's Shawn McCoy and Keith James, as well as Science Centre Singapore Chief Executive, Lim Tit Meng, welcomed the crowd and spoke to the educational message behind the entertaining exhibition. "Understanding that you can learn if you play is a critical function," said James.

IAAPA Board Executives, "The Mind's Eye" team members, and even Singapore's Senior Parliamentary Secretary pose for a group photo before the press conference at the Asian Attractions Expo.

Media and curious onlookers packed the booth and filled the aisles for "The Mind's Eye" press conference at the Asian Attractions Expo. 

The various events have led to over two dozen articles published in local, national, and international news outlets, and according to the Science Centre, The Mind's Eye and Mr. Crackitt's Light Fantastic "are drawing immense interest from the media, and we are getting flooded with requests and inquiries." Here's a small sampling of the press had to say, but don't take our word for it. Come see for yourself! 

Want more pics? Check out our Facebook page for photos from all three of this week's "The Mind's Eye" events. 


Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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Pork, Potter and...Mummies? The Friday Fives with Mengyuan Zhang

June 16, 2017

Mengyuan Zhang

Mengyuan Zhang

Happy Friday! It's the last day of the workweek, and that means another sit-down session with our superstar co-ops! In addition to fabulous University of Cincinnati DAAP students like Isaac and Mikaila who support us in the summer, we also employ two co-ops from the world-renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. This year, we welcome Mengyuan Zhang, a scenic designer who is working towards her Master of Fine Arts in Themed Entertainment Design. As always, we asked her to introduce herself to the JRA blog readers with a few simple questions. 

What is your favorite part of the design process?

Rendering! Because you can create a new mysterious world that is full of magic things and colors.

My favorite attraction is...

...Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida (Photo Credit Orlando Observer)

My iPod/iTunes is full of...

...songs and photos.

What is your favorite food?

Sichuan spicy fried pork and beef.

What are your favorite movies?

Anything Harry Potter! (Photo Credit

 If you are interested in learning more about Mengyuan, check out her resume and portfolio, and stay tuned for our last interview in a few weeks with our other SCAD co-op, Elizabeth Danielle. 



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Dazzling the Senses: The Mind's Eye Now Open at Science Centre Singapore

June 13, 2017

As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, Science Centre Singapore (SCS) today reopened its entrance gallery with the unveiling of two new exhibitions: "The Mind’s Eye”, an exhibition on illusions and human perception an exhibition on illusions and human perception, and “Professor Crackitt’s Light Fantastic! - a Mirror Maze experience”.

The Mind’s Eye will be one of the first exhibitions that visitors encounter when they visit SCS. Throughout the gallery, Visitors will be shown the joys of observation, of paying closer attention to what’s around them, and of realizing that perhaps all is not as it seems! As visitors grapple with the enigmatic exhibits, they reveal just how their senses and mind can fool them into believing. The illusions here portray the difference between what we experience/sense and what is actually perceived.

The exhibition has been curated by SCS, designed by JRA (Jack Rouse Associates) and fulfilled by SPACElogic Pte Ltd. to capture the imagination of every visitor and to explore the science behind optical illusions. It features more than 30 exhibits that manipulate how humans observe and make sense of objects and environments or perception vs reality.

Science for Everyone

“Science is always relevant in our daily lives, even in the way we view things in our environment. Visitors don’t have to be fans of science to enjoy these photo-worthy creations, but we are confident that they will be intrigued and inspired to find out how illusions take advantage of the way we perceive and make them seem real. These must-visit gems are timeless and cut across language barriers, making them ideal leisure options for spending quality time with families and friends,” said Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, CEO of Science Centre Singapore.

Features of The Mind's Eye Exhibition

Your Move: One of The Mind’s Eye exhibits showcases an installation of chess pieces set within an animation sequence which will appear to the viewer periodically as they blink. A clever play on size, shape, colour, light and shadow, these ambiguous figures challenges the process of how we view and interpret negative space or background based on edge-assignment.


View with a Twist: Another exhibit of a wire sculpture magically transforms from an elephant into two giraffes simply by shifting the visitor’s point of view.

The exhibits in The Mind’s Eye includes a curated collection of works from artists around the world, including France, Japan, South Africa and USA.

Mr. Crackitt's Light Fantastic - Asia's Largest Mirror Maze

Back by popular demand after 20 years, a new, bigger and better mirror maze has been specially created for SCS by Adrian Fisher Design Ltd, the world’s leading creator of mirror mazes and a record holder of seven Guinness World Records. The largest mirror maze in Asia, “Professor Crackitt’s Light Fantastic!” features 105 mirror cells and numerous interactive exhibits on the phenomena of lights, colours, and reflection set within a compelling storyline. Visitors are expected to assist the eccentric and forgetful Professor Crackitt find his pet parrot, Wattnot, while fixing some of his experiments in his vast laboratory. Backed by the phenomena of lights, colours, and reflection, the new mirror maze also gives visitors a chance to formulate an escape route that could be mired by reflections.

Public can visit both exhibitions from 14 June 2017 onwards. Admission to the two permanent exhibitions is free but admission fee to Science Centre Singapore applies (Admission is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents during non-peak periods such as weekdays, excluding school or public holidays). Please visit for more information about Professor Crackitt’s Light Fantastic: A Mirror Maze Experience and The Mind’s Eye.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter feed for photos of The Mind's Eye press conferences and launch party. And if you visit the exhibition (which we hope you do!), please tweet or instagram your photos with the handles @ScienceCentreSG and @JRAtweets or the hashtag #SCSnext40.

The Mind's Eye and Mr. Crackitt's Light Fantastic creators celebrate at the exhibitions' opening press conference. From left to right: Augustus Goh, Managing Director, Spacelogic PTE Ltd.; Adrian Fisher, Founder and Chairman, Adrian Fisher Design, Ltd.; Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore; and Keith James, CEO and Owner, JRA.



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Past Reflections and Future Strategies: Five Years of the TEA/AECOM Museum Index

June 12, 2017

Last week, we analyzed the findings of the 2016 Theme Index, published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and economic feasibility firm, AECOM. Today, we celebrate the fifth year of the Index’s inclusion of museums in their global attendance analysis and break down the challenges and opportunities facing cultural institutions today.

Attendance at Le Louvre fell 14% due to an overall decrease in Parisian tourism.

The Museum Industry By the Numbers

While blockbuster exhibitions (or a lack thereof) can cause moderate fluctuations in museum attendance, on average, the top 20 museums worldwide have enjoyed stable guest visitation. With the exception of the Louvre, which saw a 14% decline in attendance due to and overall drop in Parisian tourism, the top five museums saw attendance increases of 2.9% to 8.7%.

As a newer market, Asia seems to be leading the growth wave, while the more mature markets of the US and Europe have comparatively little expansion room. The Chinese government’s mandate that the country develop hundreds of new, admission-free museums has helped to bolster Asia’s attendance figures by 9% annually and catapulted the National Museum of China to the top of the global attendance list for the first time. Meanwhile, growth patterns for North America and Europe have been largely ho-um (1% annually), though standouts like the Tate Modern and State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow saw stunning growth of 23.9% and 43% respectively, driven by the Tate’s expansion and the Tretyakov’s 200th anniversary programming.

A Decade of Change

Over the past ten years, the museum industry has gone through tremendous change, and depending on location, has either suffered either substantial losses or growing pains.

In Asia, while cultural institutions are cropping up at a rapid pace due to the aforementioned government pressure, the availability of quality exhibitions and appropriately trained staff is not always keeping the pace, which could prove problematic long-term.

Museums in North America have seen substantial demographic shifts, as tech-crazed Millennials and traditionally non-museum-going ethnic groups are flooding into urban areas. As a result, these museums’ collections and programming are no longer reflecting the communities they serve. Still digging out of the global recession, North American museums have also seen government funding (and unearned income in general) erode, and will need to be creative in identifying replacement sources of revenue to survive and thrive.

New Opportunities Mean New Approaches

Addressing these revenue gaps means re-evaluating the museum guest experience so that it better meets the needs of today’s visitors. Many museums are already “getting it”, incorporating technologies such as virtual and augmented reality in their galleries, and embracing storytelling as a curatorial technique.

In addition to refreshing content and updating interpretive approaches, museums are also reconsidering the role that they play in their communities. To the extent that they can remain true to their missions, these institutions are expanding their programming and even their physical facility outside of the traditional museum sphere. By offering fitness classes, hosting birthday and engagement parties, or adding bars and restaurants that cater to visitors outside of museum operating hours, museums are diversifying their offerings to not only become anchors for their communities, but to also bolster earned revenue.

Reinvestment as the Recipe for Growth

In general, as we emphasized in our review of the Theme Index analysis, reinvestment will be critical as museums evolve and adapt to their changing world. Whether by hosting popular temporary exhibits, refreshing permanent ones, or expanding programming, these institutions must continually evolve to remain relevant and avoid attendance stagnation – or worse. In the face of continued financial obstacles and increasing competition for consumers’ discretionary time and money, the 2016 TEA/AECOM Museum Index tasks museums with thoroughly examining their market and evaluating who they serve, how they serve, and whether or not what they serve is meeting the cultural needs, educational goals and leisure time interests of their communities.

For a PDF copy of the full TEA/AECOM Theme and Museum Index, click here. 



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Flashback Friday: Chloe's Shanghai Adventures

June 08, 2017

Are you as excited about next week's IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo as we are? Not yet? Well, we're here to get you pumped up with Chloe Hausfeld's recap of last year's sojourn to Shanghai (and beyond). Here's a look back at her amazing adventures.


I remember starting the trip off finishing the book, Me Before You, followed by watching the movie, only to begin the second book, Me After You, all on the plane…there were lots of tears. Going for historical fiction this year. Don’t need “all the feels” before such a busy trip!

The first couple of days were spent in a charrette (brainstorming session), setting up the booth, and doing a bit of exploring. While the weather wasn’t great, it’s always nice to get a chance to see a bit of the cities that we travel to.

Exploring Shanghai with Keith and Patti James (aka, Mom and Dad)

The day and night prior to the show is always spent attending blooloopLIVE, and the infamous JNE&LP Party. It’s the perfect way to get the week started, and it's spent networking with colleagues and catching up with friends. It’s a well-spent day before the insanity of the week begins.

blooloopLIVE sponsors (Premier Rides), and JNE&LP hosts (Mika Nur Faezah & Jeroen Nijpels)

IAAPA always begins the expos with an exciting Opening Ceremony that highlights what’s new in the region. It helps to get everyone “jazzed up” before the taxing days on the trade show floor (this, and surprise latte visits from Lauren Weaver, Sally Corp).

Day 1 was spent with great company!

Day 2 is always extremely busy, from start to finish. The Leadership Breakfast, featuring Jim Seay (Premier Rides), was a great way to engage the attendees early on. I snuck out of the booth a bit early to head to the Young Professionals Forum and Reception, and then followed that up with the TEA, Kingsmen, and WhiteWater events. Being with great friends from all over the world is the best way to ignore how tired you get on days like this.

Said coffee savior…

I found a little part of Cincy at the WhiteWater party!

The final day continued to be busy and was a great way to finish the show. The best part, hands down, was that we spent the evening at Shanghai Disney. The timing of that opening could not have been more perfect, and I am still unbelievably grateful that I got to experience it.

You couldn’t have knocked that smile off my face if you tried ☺

Did I mention that we got to go back the next day as well?! Such an incredible park…I can’t wait to get back there!!

No trio does Disney like our trio…my favorite park pals; Lo (SALLY Corp.) and Bret Woodbury (LifeFormations)

My last several days were spent in the Philippines on the “Neverenda Tour”, hosted by Mario, Cynthia and Bea Mamon, along with several members of the Enchanted Kingdom team. What an unforgettable trip!

Great visit to Enchanted Kingdom

Quick visits to the The Mind Museum and the American Cemetery in Manila. Zamperla also hosted a great evening event filled with performances from the Kingsmen of Enchanted Kingdom and Victoria’s Way.

Fabulous adventures with some of my industry favorites!!

For anyone attending the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo next week, please visit us at the JRA Booth, L617. Safe travels to Singapore, and be on the lookout for my blog post on this year's adventures!

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team

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Reinvest to Reinvent and Other Lessons Learned from the 2016 Theme Index

June 07, 2017

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and economic feasibility firm, AECOM, have just released the eleventh edition of their annual Theme Index. Originally a report on attendance figures at theme parks across the US, the Index now covers theme park visitation across the globe and has been expanded over the years to include water parks and museums. In today’s blog, we’ll cover the Index’s theme and water park data, shifting gears to cultural institutions in next week’s post.

The Big Picture

“Slow and steady won the race” in 2016, compared with what the Index described as a “blockbuster” 2015. The top 25 theme parks saw an attendance decline of 1.1%, while water parks enjoyed a 3.6% increase. Despite only a .7% increase in attendance in 2016, Walt Disney Attractions reigned supreme as the top theme park group worldwide, with visitor numbers more than double that of second-place Merlin Entertainments Group. Of the parks themselves, Disney took four out of the five top spots, even though all four showed minor (2% or less) attendance declines. The Index attributed these slight dips to a variety of both natural and man-made external drivers, but maintained that global leisure consumption was strong and that there are reasons for sustained optimism.

Behind the Numbers: Spending, (S)marketing, and Second Gates

Factors like weather, political climate, and the whims of the tourism market can make forecasting unpredictable; however, those parks that thrived in 2016 generally employed one or more of the following techniques.


The most successful parks on the Index, regardless of location, seemed to follow the adage of “you’ve got to spend money to make money.” Reinvestments and expansions, particularly those that employed popular local or global intellectual property (IP), brought sizable returns on investment worldwide.

In North America, Universal Parks saw average growth of 7.4%, bolstered by last year’s opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as the continued bump from USH’s relatively new Walking Dead, Fast and Furious, and Springfield (Simpsons) attractions. Regional park operators Six Flags and Cedar Fair also found that investments in new rides, live entertainment and dining paid off, resulting in park attendance increases of 5% and 2.7%, respectively. Water parks were in on the revitalization game as well, with Six Flags' White Water and Hurricane Harbor parks seeing visitation gains from new slides.

This “reinvest for success” story played out at theme and water parks throughout the world. Attendance at Thermas dos Laranjais water park in Brazil spiked 11.2% due to a recent expansion and new Surf Master ride. Chinese operator Fantawild showed 37% attendance growth among its parks, due in large part to new attractions. With the addition of another of its trademark theatrical spectacles,  Puy du Fou saw attendance increases of 8% and solidified its status as an economic driver for its region of France. And In Germany, Phantasialand enjoyed a 5% attendance increase with the opening of its new themed land, Klugheim. On the flip side, Disneyland Paris, which the Index characterized as “overdue” for reinvestment, suffered a steep 14% decline in visitors. As the Index warned, “existing parks can’t sit still; they need to continually reinvest, upgrade, and improve their offers and marketing to maximize their revenue streams.”

Smart expansions and reinvestments often result in large attendance and per cap returns. 


Theme and water parks across the globe looked to smart marketing, or (s)marketing, to not only drive attendance but to increase per caps within the park. 

Much of this (s)marketing, and its resulting benefits, are being driven by “big data.” Operators are making a concerted effort to capture audience information before, during and after the park visit and using that data to (gently) guide the current and/or future guest experience. Examples of more elaborate data-driven initiatives include Disney’s Magic Band and Universal’s new TapuTapu wearable at Volcano Bay, but strategies such as dynamic pricing, season pass holder incentives, and “special event weekends” are also being employed at large and small parks worldwide. Additional techniques, such as social media campaigns and promotional packages with nearby attractions, hope to inspire visitors to fill the parks’ seasonal lulls.

According to the Index, (s)marketing has the advantage of driving additional revenue without the large capital investments touched on above. The key is to make existing customers buy more – more food, more photos, more plush. The additional revenue generated by these efforts then frees up funds to invest in more rides, shows and attractions – a win for guests and operators alike.

Second (and Third and Fourth) Gates

While Disney and Universal submerged themselves in the “resort” pool decades ago, smaller operators in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are beginning to see the benefits of adding second (and third and fourth) gates, as well as water parks, hotels and other shopping, dining, and recreational amenities, adopting a “more is more” philosophy.

The above being said, Shanghai Disneyland Resort, with its theme park, two hotels and multitude of food, beverage and shopping options, has already welcomed millions of visitors since last June and has been lauded by the Index as a “watershed event” in the history of the Asian themed entertainment market.

In other parts of the world, Spain’s PortAventura recently added Ferrari Land as a third gate to its line up, and the newly opened Dubai Parks and Resorts offers three theme parks, a water park, a retail and dining destination, and a luxurious resort hotel. And across Latin America, water parks are seeing positive growth due to their inclusion of onsite accommodations.

These brick and mortar add-ons, when coupled with longer operating days and seasons as well the (s)marketing techniques above, increase length of stay and thus bolster per cap spending, resulting in revenue increases even when overall attendance remains relatively flat.

Additional amenities like accommodations, spas and conference facilities can increase length of stay, bolstering revenue. Here's a look at what's offered at the top European theme park resorts. Chart courtesy TEA and AECOM.

The Unknowns

While spending, smarketing and second gates have resulted in stable – if unremarkable – growth over the past year, looming questions remain.

The 2016 Index only reflects a half-year of operations for Shanghai Disneyland and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Dubai Parks and Resorts and IMG Worlds of Adventure debuted at the close of 2016. And Ferrari Land, Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Volcano Bay have just recently opened their gates.

How will these massive capital investments affect not only global attendance numbers, but the theme park industry as a whole? Will IP continue to be the “secret sauce” for a successful theme park recipe? How will recent political events shape global tourism? And will Asian theme park attendance succeed in its quest to surpass that of the US?

Guess we’ll have to wait for the 2017 Theme Index to find out.

For a PDF copy of the full TEA/AECOM Theme and Museum Index, click here. 


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Friday Fives: Design and the Blank Page with Isaac Busken-Javanovich

June 02, 2017

Isaac Busken-Javanovich

Isaac Busken-Javanovich

With summer comes the arrival of a new group of superstar design co-ops. Among them - University of Cincinnati Industrial design student, Isaac Busken-Javanovich. In the first of our three summer "Friday Fives" interview sessions, Isaac talks chess, road rallies and the challenges of the blank page.




 My favorite exhibit/attraction is…

Photo credit: United States Air Force Museum

...the United States Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Airbase in Dayton, Ohio. The first time that I visited, I was overwhelmed by the sheer scale and historical depth of this museum. Every year since, I have gone with my uncle and cousins in December. It has become a tradition for us, and the entire museum is engrained in my mind. Despite this, I always seem to discover something new. No matter how many times I’ve done it before, I still enjoy walking through eras of aviation history in the hangars, smelling that distinct paint aroma, and examining those magnificent machines.

Favorite board game?

I would say chess. It is as classic as a game can get. When you begin a game, you’re taking on the same role as countless players through history, from crusader kings to cold war competitors. In addition to this, playing always brings back memories of my father teaching me the rules of the game. It’s a logical game with a great emotional value. I’m open for a chance to play any time I find a challenger.

Dream Vacation?

Photo credit: The Adventurists

My dream vacation, if I had a few months to spare, would be to participate in the Mongol Rally. In brief, it is a long distance “race” from England to Mongolia of over 10,000 miles in a ridiculously small vehicle unfit for the challenge. The point is that there will be many hurdles over this continental journey and having a vehicle unsuited for them emphasizes the spirit of adventure and adaptability. This entire concept is insane, but that is exactly what draws me to it.

The biggest challenge facing a designer… the white page. Initially starting off is the hardest aspect of the design process in my opinion. Even the first approach to a new project requires a designer to explore a broad range of far-flung ideas to triangulate a viable concept. This stage is the most amorphous and the most vital, as it is where designs are born. How designers perform in this step separates the good from the bad.

If you could have any superpowers, what would they be?

Control over time would be the most exciting power in my mind. In the mundane life, time is the most critical element and all things fall before it. Having the power to pause time would enable one to have limitless potential for learning. Just the thought of how much could be read or what skills could be practiced while the rest of existence stood still is unimaginable. On the other side, after going through an experience, one could travel back and relive the experience again but now with the retrospective wisdom gained. At this point however, there are alternate timelines and paradoxes that complicate the logic of this power. Perhaps it is best that it doesn’t exist.


Thanks for sharing, Isaac, and welcome to the studio!

Tags: JRA Team

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