Monday, 4 June 2012

The path more travelled

Orlando is not a holiday destination for those wanting to "get away from it all". Think of it more as a place where you can "get into it all!"

It is not really a place for "being one with nature", rather it's more like "being with everyone else".

Survey after survey will include Orlando as one the "most popular", "best", "top 10", "top 25", "most visited". If the estimates of over 50 million visitors annually are even half correct, that number will put Orlando among the 5 most visited cities in the world.

Disney certainly transformed Central Florida from mostly agricultural to tourism, and last Thursday, we saw just how much tourism is drawn by Disney with the release of AECOM Economics "2011 Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report" .

Look at the lovely graphs after the jump:

Let's take a look at some of the stats on the millions of visitors to the theme parks.
I've collated four years of attendance data from the AECOM reports. Looks pretty flat really. Except for that teeny tiny GFC blip in 2010.

But someone has broken out:

Attendious expandiato!!
 That's the Harry Potter effect. And here they are! All extra 3 million of them on opening day!

Truly popular - more popular than a prawn on a barbie!
Despite Universal's success in almost doubling their attendance figures over two years, there is no doubt who is the elephant at this party.

Sucked into the gravitation pull of the mother planet
This impressive AECOM diagram dramatically demonstrates the role of Disney as being the centre of the Orlando universe and the foundation of the Orlando tourism industry. With over 60,000 employees in WDW, Disney are the USA's largest single site employer. And WDW generates another 100,000 + jobs indirectly in surrounding areas.

The AECOM reports makes a couple of observations: that visitor numbers to Orlando have grown over the past year at 3.6% to 54.3 million tourists - an amazing result considering the international weak economy. And the report continues to note that such breakout growth is driven when the big corporate players that dominate Orlando invest in capital improvements - like building Harry Potter Land.

Let's stop and let this sink in for a moment. Whilst you are attending the 2012 ZI Conference, The UN World Tourism Organisation reminds us that the city of Orlando attracts more tourists than the whole of Italy, let alone Turino.

Fortunately, there are plenty of these to keep everyone entertained.


The annual Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendence Report is compiled and published by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM Economics

This blog post is part of the DisMarks Disney Blog Carnival! Check out more fantastic Disney websites and articles over at the Carnival.

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