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Theme Parks Boom in Japan

Attendance numbers at Japan<.>`s mega theme parks continue to achieve stellar proportions, according to…

Attendance numbers at Japan<.>`s mega theme parks continue to achieve stellar proportions, according to hotel and tourism specialist Jones Lang LaSalle<.> Hotels. Strong demand from Japanese consumers has been recorded despite the difficult Japanese economy and rising unemployment.

According to Mike Tidbold, a theme park specialist at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels the Japanese theme parks source almost 100% of their guests from the domestic Japanese market. This is in contrast to the mega theme parks in the USA which have a wide geographic spread of guests from Europe, North and South America and the Asia Pacific. Mr Tidbold also made the observation that generally repeat visitation levels in Japan are higher than many parks in other countries around the world.

Mr Tom Sawayanagi, Senior Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Tokyo added that domestic demand is spread across the whole demographic spectrum from families, couples, small groups of singles through to senior citizens.

The last 12 months has seen the opening of two major mega theme parks in Japan: Universal Studios theme park in Osaka, commonly known locally as USJ, and Tokyo Disney Sea theme park, a major extension to Tokyo Disneyland. Since opening in March 2001, USJ has reportedly already received over 9 million visitors to March 2002. Excluding the Disney World theme park complex in Orlando, USA, Tokyo Disneyland reportedly has the highest annual attendance of any theme park in the world at 17.7 million visitors in 2001.

Whilst attendance numbers at the mega theme parks are booming, Mr Sawayanagi said that the Japanese domestic market continues to support and enjoy a diverse range of theme parks and tourist attractions including Huis Ten Bosch, a replica Dutch village with luxury hotels, situated on Kyushu in southern Japan.

He added the traditional main stay of the Japanese tourist attraction sector has been Japan`s excellent collection of museums displaying the country`s important cultural traditions. The future outlook for this sector of the industry appears reasonably good, particularly in more recent times when Japanese people have been holidaying at home in preference to overseas.

Theodore Koumelis
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