ECA News

ECA and blooloop launch the Global Attractions Landscape.

ECA and blooloop announced the new Global Attractions Landscape – a new resource to navigate a diverse, dynamic and interconnected attractions industry – in a trends webinar.

The Global Attractions Landscape (GAL) is a dynamic resource for the industry that catalogues and explores leading and upcoming players within the industry. Focusing initially on theme parks, the website showcases 16 leading theme park operators with over 50 upcoming projects from around the world.

Key information about the projects and operators is highlighted. On each operating group page, you can find information about notable IPs, current park locations, peak pricing, key strategies and more.

ECA Principals Matt Earnest and Ed Shaw highlight theme park trends in Global Attraction Landscape launch webinar.

Five key trends

Shaw and Earnest started the webinar by discussing 5 trends in the global theme park industry. The first trend is resort expansion. This can be seen across theme park types and the expansion and enhancement of existing parks is a priority.

Price changes, including peak pricing and price increases, is also a key trend. The pent-up demand from COVID, increasing competition and inflation is leading to large differences in prices. At Tokyo Disney Resort, for example, the price of a peak ticket has changed three times in 18 months.

Theme Parks are increasingly looking to increase spending during the guest visit. This takes several forms, from paying for parking, F&B, hospitality and the numerous queue-jumping platforms like Genie+, express pass etc.

Digitalisation is another trend, which is using digital technologies to change a business model to provide new revenue and value. Operators are searching for ways to be more efficient, and consumers want experiences more quickly.

Finally, Shaw spoke about the global race for IP. Using IP is a good way to drive visitation to an attraction. IP owners, particularly large-scale media and entertainment companies, are consolidating and accumulating new brands and IP. For example, Disney acquired Fox, and Amazon purchased MGM Studios.

You can watch the webinar here.

ECA Project – Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo – Opening 2023

Warner Bros. Studio Tours, Warner Bros. Japan, Seibu Railway Co., Ltd., Itochu Corporation, and Fuyo General Lease Co., Ltd. announced the development of Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter on a part of the current Toshimaen Amusement Park grounds located in Tokyo.

The Studio Tour Tokyo facility will cover an area of about 30,000 square meters and is expected to open in 2023. It will be the second facility of its kind in the world, after London, and will offer a new type of experiential entertainment in Japan. Building on the success of the Harry Potter experience in London, the indoor attraction will take visitors on a behind the scenes tour of the Wizarding World series. Visitors can explore the iconic movie sets that were designed and built by the creators of the Harry Potter series and see original costumes and props.

ECA was retained by Warner Bros. to complete the site analysis, market and feasibility study for the project.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter Set to Open on Toshimaen Grounds in the First Half of 2023

ECA’s Edmond Chih and Ed Shaw on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and the evolving regional attractions industry – InPark Magazine

The attraction industry is rapidly evolving and moving beyond COVID-19. New developments and operational approaches in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) provide a case study of the industry’s evolution. Having worked extensively throughout the region over the past decade, ECA Director, Edmond Chih, and ECA Principal, Ed Shaw, outline the changes occurring in the regional industry and the path ahead, as highlighted by major attraction trends and new projects. InPark Magazine

ECA Project – LEGOLAND Korea Theme Park & Resort – Opened May 2022

LEGOLAND Korea Theme Park & Resort opened on Jungdo Island in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province in May 2022. Owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments, the 69-acre park is the largest LEGOLAND in Asia and second largest in the world, after LEGOLAND New York. The project also includes a 154-room themed hotel. The project is the only LEGOLAND in the world located on an island.

ECA was retained by LEGOLAND Development / Merlin Entertainment Group to complete market feasibility analysis for the project.

ECA Project – Universal Studios Beijing – Opened September 2021

The Universal Beijing Resort spans 405 hectares (1,000 acres) in Tongzhou, an eastern suburb of Beijing. The theme park itself, along with related facilities, spans 121 hectares (300 acres).

The project is owned by Beijing International Resort Co., Ltd., a joint venture between Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co. Ltd. (a consortium of five Chinese state-owned companies) and Universal Parks & Resorts. The latter reportedly have a 30% stake in construction and ownership and is entirely in charge of the theme park and resort (other than hotel) operations.

The theme park features many of the movie-centric environments and rides that can be found in existing Universal Studio parks and introduces new attractions reflecting China’s cultural heritage.

In addition to the theme park, the project features a CityWalk RDE district and two themed hotels. Opened in September 2021, the park has a reported USD 6.5 billion initial capital investment (originally USD 3.3 billion).

In December 2021, Beijing local government announced a 220-hectare expansion plan for the 2nd phase of the project. It is reported that the 2nd phase will include an additional theme park and additional hotels. A new water park will potentially be included in the 3rd phase of the project.

ECA was retained by Beijing Tourism Group (BTG) and Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co. Ltd. in partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts (UPR) for market, attendance, and financial feasibility analysis for the Universal Studios Beijing mega theme park resort destination. The State Council approved the development of the US$3.3 billion mega theme park in September 2014. The expected capital investment is USD 6.5 billion.

In addition to the anchor mega theme park, ECA also performed market demand analysis for a waterpark, a CityWalk retail, dining, and entertainment (RDE) district, on-site hotels. ECA also created an integrated financial model for all resort components and prepared an economic impact study.

Ed Shaw and Edmond Chih featured in Blooloop Observation Attraction Article

Observation wheels: a history (and a new lease of life for the 21st century)

ECA Project – LEGOLAND New York Theme Park & Resort – Opened May 2021

LEGOLAND New York Theme Park & Resort opened in Goshen, New York in May 2021. Owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments, the 150-acre park features eight lands​ and more than 50 rides, attractions and shows. The project also includes a 250-room themed hotel. The park operates seasonally from April to November, while the adjoining LEGOLAND hotel operates year-round.

ECA was retained by LEGOLAND Development / Merlin Entertainment Group to complete site evaluation and market demand analysis for the project.

ECA team members play a leading role in top attractions and entertainment industry organizations

Over the past year, ECA team members have continued to occupy prominent positions and make valuable contributions to the attractions industry. Recent efforts include:

  • ECA’s LA office collaborated with entertainment design firm Thinkwell Group on a White Paper discussing the impacts of COVID-19 on theme park planning.
  • Principal Ray Braun was honored by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) as a TEA Master 2020 in recognition of his 40+ years of leading contributions to the industry in the area of economics and development principles.
  • Principal Christian Aaen was elected to the THEA Awards Committee where he is a member of the Attraction and Museums Sub-Committee.
  • Regional Director Janice Li was elected to the TEA Asia Pacific Board.
  • Christian Aaen served on the Blooloop judging panel for the 3rd edition of the Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencer List 2020.

ECA’s Ray Braun Discusses Next-Generation Attraction Development with Blooloop

Ray Braun, a Founding Principal of ECA, speaks to Blooloop about his career and the origin and evolution of ECA. He also discusses development trends in the attraction industry and reveals major projects that ECA has worked on.

With a global focus on entertainment development projects, ECA has worked with theme park developers, cultural institutions, attraction operators, major movie studios, and other intellectual property companies since its establishment in 2010., “Driving development: breaking the mould with next-generation attractions”