Attractions Industry Leaders Expect Attendance, Spending to Rise in 2023

As the summer travel season approaches, IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, announced that its 2022-2026 Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report forecasts a 7% boost in attendance for North American theme parks, with an estimated attendance of 308.5 million in 2023.

Spending is also expected to increase this year—by an estimated 15% in North America, bringing it to nearly $32 billion in 2023. If this increase is realized, it will mean regaining pandemic-related losses for the domestic attractions industry.

“To say the domestic attractions industry is looking at a good 2023 is an understatement,” said Jakob Wahl, president and chief executive officer for IAAPA. “We expect the market in 2023 to fully recapture the lost spending in 2020, and the amount of investment planned for our region supports the demand we’re seeing.”

In tracking industry happenings, here are the top five trends guests can look forward to when making summer plans:

  • Competitive Socializing: When friends visit places like Drive Shack or TopGolf, the purpose of getting together is to have fun, but here there is a layer of competition between everyone at the same time. IAAPA says these activities result in more meaningful connections with guests because the attraction offers a combination of action and downtime to allow for conversation and quality time together.
  • Technological Enhancements: The pandemic accelerated technology development around the world, and the same can be said for advancements within the global attractions industry. IAAPA member parks and attractions have made significant efforts to enhance mobile apps and make experiences easier for guests by adding more technology to positively affect the visitor experience. You can order food and drinks with the push of a button, or you can schedule your next ride with a simple click on your phone.
  • New Hotels and Resorts: Many parks and attractions have taken steps to make their properties a multi-day destination. To add value to guest visits, attractions around the country have added new accommodations and resorts to their properties or plan to open them soon.
  • Sustainability Focus: When people are traveling this summer, they can feel good knowing so many attractions and destinations are turning more of a focus on enhanced sustainability efforts. This includes better use of recycle-made products, efforts to decrease food waste, and a larger focus on clean, green energy.
  • Inclusive Environments: IAAPA has seen an increase across the industry to create more inclusive environments for guests around the world. A notable example of this is from the team behind the Peppa Pig theme parks, which are certified autism centers. A second Peppa Pig Theme Park is set to open in the Dallas-Fort Worth area next year.