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Theme park visits under attack from video games and the Internet

By Dennis Schaal, Skift
August 21, 2013 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The interests of today's teens are veering away from theme parks.
The interests of today's teens are veering away from theme parks.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Percentage of kid visitors to theme parks dropped 10% compared to five years go
  • Other forms of cheaper entertainment as well as rising theme park prices and services are thought to be why
  • Seaworld visitations fell 9% in second quarter but revenue per visitor climbed 7%

(CNN) -- With stiff competition from video games, the Internet and cheaper entertainment, theme parks are seeing reduced visits from teens, according to a new study.

Research from Mintel shows that 67% of kids age 12-17 visited a U.S. theme park in the last year, compared with 76% five years earlier.

In addition to the changing interests of today's teens, rising theme parks prices -- not just the cost of admission, but also the price of services once there -- can be a huge deterrent to theme park visits by young people, Mintel found.

Per diem expenses at U.S. theme parks stood at around $170 in 2012 while they were about $20 cheaper from 2007-2010.

Increased pricing was definitely a factor in SeaWorld Entertainment's lackluster second quarter results. Ticket prices rose, and visitations fell 9% to 6.6 million attendees at its 11 theme parks, the company said. Still, revenue per visitor climbed 7% to $62.67, the company reported.

However, Disney's parks and resorts segment did not experience the same trends as it set a record for attendance in its June quarter and achieved higher guest spending because of increased prices on tickets and food and beverage. Disney doesn't publicly break out attendance numbers by age.

Mintel argues that theme parks could boost guest satisfaction by integrating games and the Internet, and by using technology to cut down on wait times.

In fact, 76% of theme park visitors, according to Mintel, believe theme parks should use enhanced technology to decrease wait times.

Disney believes it is on the way toward doing just that with its $1 billion wristband project, which is considered the largest theme park technology project ever.

Story from Dennis Schaal, at Skift.

Other stories from Skift:

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