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Here's How Amusement Parks Positively Impact the Economy

The European notion of an amusement park made its debut in the United States at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. The rich of New York City used the island as a summer vacation destination, but the middle and working classes soon took advantage of it and its growing attractions for their own amusement. The "Switchback," the nation's first roller coaster, was developed and managed in 1884 by Ohioan La Marcus A. Thompson. The roller coaster quickly became the most popular and distinctive feature in amusement parks across the world.

Another example that comes to mind is Disney World, which is located in Florida and has more than 77,000 employees. The amusement park hosts over 58 million visitors every year, which reflects the direct impact it would cause on a country's economy. Tourists to theme parks are likely to visit the surrounding area, eat at nearby eateries, and shop at local boutiques, resulting in an economic benefit to the area. This is only one of the numerous advantages a thriving theme park can provide to a community.

Social Media’s Magic Spell on Millennials

The total revenue generated by theme parks increased significantly to a record-breaking $44.8 billion in the year 2018. This growth was spurred by the growing prominence of social media's impact in recent times as well; the images quickly go viral and become a go-to destination for millions of people in a matter of minutes.

One of the most popular consumer trends among today's youth is what's called the "experience economy." IAAPA's 2018 Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook report reveal their creative spark in the theme park sector (IAAPA).

According to the report, "An emerging trend is customers' rising inclination to spend money on experiences rather than items." In 2014, Harris Poll conducted a survey on behalf of ticket broker Eventbrite that revealed this trend. Of those polled, 78% said they'd prefer to spend money on an enjoyable event or activity rather than a material object, and 72% said they intended to increase their spending on memorable experiences.

The survey showed that 60% of millennials had posted their events and experiences on social media in the preceding year, compared to just 34 percent of those in the 45 to 54 age group. Additionally, 69% of millennials stated they were anxious about missing out on what their peers were up to because of the constant barrage of social media updates. With no in-home equivalent of a theme park to compete with, it's given a glimmer to the sector.

Expenditures are expected to climb even further as prices rise and new parks open. According to the analysis, this will increase by 6.5 percent in four years to $60.5 billion. The Middle East and North Africa were the fastest-growing markets last year, with a $2.1 billion raise.

Economic Impact of Amusement Parks

Theme parks are growing and so is attendance, which has a positive economic impact on the country. When people gather in line for the newest monster roller coaster or flock to an amusement park named after the latest superhero, few realize the enormous economic contribution theme parks make to the country’s economy. In this global battle for jobs, theme parks are one of the country’s hot growth sectors.

Consider the new theme park being built by Universal Park & Resorts and scheduled to open there by the year 2019. The first phase of building alone will necessitate 10,000 workers. That's a lot of new jobs for the area. An estimated $8 billion will be spent on this initial phase, according to the company. The company projects the new park will bring in 12 million tourists every year.

Think about all the other things these 12 million visitors will require while they are here. They will need a place to stay, meals, and most likely other activities as well, so plan accordingly. They will buy gifts for loved ones back home and souvenirs for themselves. The influx of tourists will be good for many local businesses, like restaurants, motels, street food vendors, clothing stores, gift shops, and other shops.

The attendance rose with the opening of a string of new parks starting in 2016. The first was IMG Worlds of Adventure, an indoor theme park inspired by the Marvel and Cartoon Network universes. These were then followed by a number of other theme parks in Dubai, including Motiongate, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and Legoland. The world's largest indoor theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, which cost $1 billion to build, opened its doors in the year 2018. With two Six Flags parks in Saudi Arabia and Dubai opening in the next several years, they will be joined by the first SeaWorld outside of the United States in 2022.

Spending on theme parks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is predicted to increase by 24.3% annually over the next five years, reaching $541 million in 2022. In the next four years, attendance is expected to rise to 12.7 million. In contrast, North American theme parks welcomed 399.7 million visitors last year, second only to those in Asia. According to data from the prior year, it barely increased by 0.7%. The increase in spending was also down and fell 1.1 percentage points to 3.8%, giving it a total of $22.9 billion.

There were also considerable budgetary (tax) repercussions from the tourist attractions business at the federal, state, and local levels. There was almost 489, 000 total employment supported by the tourist industry in the state of Florida as a result of nearly $48 billion in economic effect. More than $5 billion in federal taxes and $4 billion in state and local levies were imposed on Florida. California had approximately 358 thousand jobs and over $38 billion in economic output, making it by far the second-largest state.

Amusement Parks and Numbers Game

We have firmly established that the role of amusement parks can be mutually beneficial for private organizations as well as the country. The point is further backed by the number of annual visitors at each individual amusement park in Flordia alone:

  • Magic Kingdom 19.3 million

  • Epcot 11.5 million

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom 10.4 million

  • Disney Hollywood Studios 10.3 million

  • Universal Studios- 8.2 million

  • Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios 8.1 million

  • SeaWorld 4.7 million

  • Busch Gardens Tamp Bay 4.1 million

Imagine the economic impact this had on the state and the country. The state estimates tourism brings in a whopping $82 billion in spending. This influx of foreign money into the economy is certainly eminent. The popularity of theme parks is spreading around the globe. All of those attractions are the result of a country's economy going through a development spurt like a supernova. Even if we have to wait a few minutes in line, it's worth it for all the people they employ, the taxes they raise, and the money they bring in.

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