Theme park is a modern tourism destination based on a specific theme, integrating entertainment activities, leisure and reception service facilities. Disney theme park established in America in 1995 marked the birth of the first theme park with modern concepts. Japan owned its first large-scale theme park when Tokyo Disneyland was open in 1983. Hong Kong Disneyland, completed in 2005, enhanced Asia’s position in the world theme park industry; Shanghai Disneyland, open in June 2016, will further boost Disney’s brand influence in China as a huge tourism market.
According to CRI, domestic theme park industry has developed relatively fully since its start in 1980s. Four Chinese operators are among the top 10 theme park operators globally (Overseas Chinese Town, Chimelong Group, Fantawhild and Worldland Group). With supporting policies of the Chinese government and fine market prospect, enterprises like Wanda Group and Huayi Brothers are entering theme park industry and promote the construction of theme parks in different places in China. In 2016, domestic market size of theme park exceeded CNY 40 billion.
According to CRI, world-renowned theme parks are mostly located in regions with high population density and GDP per capita; income level and population density are high in large-and middle-scale cities in China, therefore, theme parks are suitable to be constructed in these places. Chinese average GDP in 2016 was over USD 8,000, undergoing the period of rapid development. With emerging new ways in tourism industry like recreational travel, parent-child travel, and surrounding tourism, theme parks can achieve more potential development in the future. In China, theme parks usually lie in large-and middle-scale cities or their surrounding areas which are suitable for one-day trip or weekend trip. Besides, the combination of tourism and plays, recreation and holiday-taking are preferred by tourists and it becomes a high-frequency destination of parent-child travels.
Since Disneyland’s operation in Shanghai in 2016, overseas theme park giants like Universal studios, Six Flags, LEGO and DreamWorks Studios are focusing on the huge theme park market in China and accelerating their layout. Foreign capitals, on the one hand, bring new opportunities, inspire tourists’ consumption passions and raise their attentions on theme parks, and also raise tourists’ acceptance to higher priced tickets; on the other hand, it brings new challenges to the domestic market: how to develop circular investment effectively to sustain the growth, get rid of dependence on tickets and differentiate the competition. According to tourist volume and operation data in 2016, domestic theme parks of Overseas Chinese Town, Chimelong Group, Fantawhild and Worldland Group maintained their good performance with their own characteristics and were not severely affected by Shanghai Disneyland.
According to CRI, Chinese economy continues to increase and residents’ income keeps growing, leading to stronger willingness and ability of tourism and recreation consumption, which provides fine development environment for theme park industry. It is estimated that the GAGR of market size of theme park will exceed 15%.