Table of Contents
Theme parks originated in England as early as the 1100’s when the Elizabethan fairs were held. Unlike today’s theme parks these parks provided a variety of entertainment and food that were a common pastime for people in that period. The popularity of the industry began to rise as the world fair was started in 1851 in Crystal Palace (Kim & Kim, 2016). The world fair was a place where vendors showcased new products; people had an opportunity to view products from different parts of the world, star entertainers performed, and a place where people sampled foods.
A remarkable growth in the industry was realized in 19 century due to the improvement of transportation. Individuals could move easily in the cities giving rise to theme parks like Dreamland and Luna Park that could operate in the proximity of large cities. However, the great depression hit the industry-leading to the closure of most theme parks. When the great depression ended, the theme parks changed into larger parks like the Disneyworld and Hershey parks. The large parks are characterized by modern thrill rides, all kinds of food, and all sorts of entertainment.
The characteristics of the theme parks include a single pay-one-price admission, require high finance to start, and are artificially created most of the time. They also try to create an atmosphere of a unique time and place and in most cases stress a single main theme orchestrated in arts, rides, shows, costumed individuals, and retailing. Nevertheless, most theme parks are usually set aside but self-contained.
The industry has an oligopoly structure, which is characterized by a small number of large firms, highly differentiated products, and high entry barriers. The two major competing firms include the Disney collection such as Disneyworld and Universal. United States is the leading country in the theme industry, having more than 400 amusement parks and old-fashioned attractions and generating about $60 billion in income for the US. In Europe, there exist about 300 parks that generate more than 10 billion Euros. The global revenue for the industry amounted to $24 billion (Milman, 2013). The economic impact of the industry includes improved living standards of people and growth of the general economy of the host countries due to the creation of employment opportunities and earnings from the tourists and local people.
Theming is an attempt of generating an atmosphere of a certain place and time. It usually emphasizes a certain major theme in sectors like design, landscape, rides, and shows. Moreover, it provides food services, retail activities, and entertainment. Theming is important in the operation of parks as the rides and entertainment are used to generate diverse environments. Examples of themes include fairy tales and futurism.
The role of theming in most tourism and hospitality is to provide entertainment to tourists. The tourists feel entertained with music and other arts from famous celebrities with the provision of different types of foods from vendors.
Theme parks could result in both positive and negative effects on the local society and the patterns of its culture. A theme park results in the contact of the local individuals and the visitors, which could be detrimental especially if the culture of the locals differs highly from that of the visitors. Examples of negative impacts of theme parks include overcrowding of facilities in the area, over-commercialization, and resultant conflicts between the locals and the tourists due to variances in terms of language, mode of dressing, and customs (Milman, 2013). The positive effects of theme parks include improved living standards and community facilities. The impact on the environment includes pollution due to increased use and disposal of substances in an improper way.
Three main phases of the process required to plan, design, and build tourist attractions include: project development plan, design development, and construction.
The project development plan generates the main outline for the implementation of the plan and analyses the physical, functional, and financial requirements of the project. This phase seeks to find out the number of individuals who would be attracted to the project or the physical location of the project.
Design development commences after the completion of the project development phase and is grounded on the architectural and engineering issues proposed in the first phase. The estimated value or cost of the project is calculated in this section (Kim & Kim, 2016). Moreover, probable bidders are selected and contracts were given to the appropriate bidders. The construction phase involves the physical implementation of the project such as clearing and grading the site for constructing the project up to the completion phases of the project like the installation of tools and equipment.
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There are seven types of the theme park. The first one is an adventure, which includes attributes like excitement and actions, frightening, mystery, and thrill rides. Futurism is another type of theme park that entails the future growth of the industry and involves the study of science and technology, growth in society, and technology or robotics (Milman, 2013). The international theme park is also another type and includes miniature replicas and flavors of other countries among others. Other categories include nature, fantasy, history, and culture as well as movies.
The visitor attraction product involves an amalgamation of facilities and services. These products are aimed at satisfying the visitors and include both tangible and intangible features. The tangible products include shops, restaurants, rides and the appearance of staff, and many others. On the other hand, the intangibles include fun exciting feelings, a pleasant atmosphere, and the staff attitude and behavior towards customers.
The organizational structure of a theme park as shown above is a Unitarian form of organizational structure. It is led by the shareholders that govern the board of directors that direct the president. Then the vice presidents chair every department immediately below the president.
The marketing sector is led by the VP of marketing that controls the sales, events, conventions, and group sales. On the other hand, the VP of operations controls rides, foods and beverage outlets, stores, and guest services.
The future of the theme industry involves enhanced guest experiences through innovation and technology. In addition, theme parks would increase emphasis on security and safety issues due to terrorism attacks in various parts of the world. The theme park would also be integrated with other tourist attraction activities in order to provide visitors with the best experience.
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- Kim, C., & Kim, S. (2016). Measuring the operational efficiency of individual theme park attractions. Springerplus, 5(1).
- Milman, A. (2013). The Future of the Theme Park and Attraction Industry: A Management Perspective. Journal Of Travel Research, 40(2), 139-147.