TEA Connect Blog

25 July 2017

The media identify trends and build stories from the 2016 TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index

A number of top media outlets reported on the 2016 edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index. Below, we share stories, editorial angles and trends that emerged.

Story by Judith Rubin, TEA publications, social media and PR

The 2016 TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index, sharing visitation figures and analysis for the world's top-attended theme parks, water parks and museums was released in June 2017, in English and Chinese. It covers calendar year 2016 and can be accessed at this link, along with prior-year editions dating back to 2007.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) publishes and distributes the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index in collaboration with the economics practice at AECOM.

The annual Theme Index represents a significant body of international research performed by a dedicated, professional team. Click to see the official press release for the 2016 edition.

The Theme Index is widely covered in the media. Every year, it is interesting and enlightening to observe how the data are studied and utilized by members of the press, from a number of different angles. Here are current examples.


Showcasing the top parks and museums

Growth in Asia: Museums

Attendance at the National Museum of China in 2016 topped that of the Louvre for the first time

TEA and AECOM have collaborated on the TEA/AECOM Theme Index
annually since 2007. Here, immediate past president 
Steve Birket of Birket Engineering is with
John Robinett of AECOM, in the TEA booth at the
2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo


Stories look at attendance, revenues, ticket prices, new attractions and reinvestment, and the notable success of Shanghai Disneyland in its first year and how that changes the game in Asia. AECOM has forecast that the theme park sector in Asia will surpass North America by the year 2020.

Strong performance of museums in London (and Washington DC)

Growth of the waterparks sector

A highlight of the annual TEA Summit is an exclusive preview
by members of the AECOM research team.
Shown here, presenting at the 2016 Summit, are
AECOM's John Robinett, Linda Cheu, 
Margreet Papamichael and Brian Sands

Universal's wizardly performance

Universal Studios theme park attendance surged in 2016, mostly due to Harry Potter attractions. Comparisons were made with Disney and other major operators for the same period.

Summary reports


Judith Rubin,
TEA publications

As shown above, the 2016 Theme Index was used as a basis for travel showcases, analysis of Disney, Universal and other top operators, exploring the growth of the museums and waterparks sectors, the impact of Shanghai Disneyland, and more. Access the TEA/AECOM Theme Index online at this link.

The Theme Index is a vital resource and business reference, depended upon by analysts, educators, developers and operators in the global attractions industry, and it has international circulation. It is released around the same time each year (early June) and shared with the TEA membership, the press and the public, downloadable from the TEA and AECOM websites in English and Chinese. A limited number of hard copies are printed for distribution at trade events including the IAAPA expos in Asia, Europe and Orlando. Past editions from 2007 on remain available as a resource for studying performance and trends over the long term.

The "theme team" for the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index includes an AECOM research team led by John Robinett and Brian Sands and including Chris Yoshii, Margreet Papamichael, Beth Chang and Linda Cheu, interfacing with TEA headquarters via TEA COO Jennie Nevin and myself. I've been honored to work on the Theme Index every year since this collaboration began. -- J.R.


Is your article missing?

We will be adding to the above list over time. To submit a story for inclusion, or for media inquiries, please send us an email




Posted by Judith Rubin



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