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Coronavirus: Impact on Theme Parks

JammyH

Member
My question here is relatively simple, to what extent do we think the coronavirus will impact theme parks this year, both in terms of economics and also in terms of us wanting to visit our most loved parks this coming season.

Some examples of the effects so far:

A large proportion of Chinese theme parks have closed, including Disney Shanghai, all OCT parks(15 parks in total including Happy Valley), all Fantawild parks (17), all Chimelong parks (3) and Sunac parks (14 in total).

Gardaland SEA life aquarium will remain closed until 1st March for definite and then monitored whether it is safe to reopen after that date.

Gardaland will no longer be open on selected dates throughout March and have rescheduled season opening to the 28th March.

Cases now continue to rise in other countries across the globe and throughout Europe; Germany in particular is starting to be hit hard with 30 active cases in North Rhein-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg. These two regions of Germany are home to Phantasialand and Europa Park respectively. If the situation continues to escalate and a major outbreak occurs in Germany then these parks, along with many others could potentially have to delay their season openings until the virus has passed.

(Personally hoping, of course, that the virus gets contained as have booked to Phantasialand in April and working in Europa from end of April so really hoping this doesn't escalate over the next couple of weeks).

What's your opinion on the current situation? Obviously parks having to remain shut across china is having a massive effect on business and the economy so if other parks all across the world have to close down due to outbreaks we could be seeing one of the most unsuccessful years for the theme park industry if the virus continues to replicate.
 

Howie

Active Member
Anyone off to Japan soon?
Seems Disney is closing its Tokyo theme parks for 2 weeks in an attempt to stop the spread of Corona virus.
I wonder if the other Japanese parks will follow suit?
 

spicy

Active Member
Obviously parks having to remain shut across china is having a massive effect on business and the economy so if other parks all across the world have to close down due to outbreaks we could be seeing one of the most unsuccessful years for the theme park industry if the virus continues to replicate.
If it ever reaches the stage that most of theme parks across the globe have closed down we will have hit a point where the economy across the globe will be in serious trouble with no one travelling and quarantine taken place on sporting events, concerts, workplaces, pubs, restaurants etc.. across the world.

Scary thought but it seems more and more likely everyday. They can't seem to get it under control at all.
 

Yeldoow

New Member
If it ever reaches the stage that most of theme parks across the globe have closed down we will have hit a point where the economy across the globe will be in serious trouble with no one travelling and quarantine taken place on sporting events, concerts, workplaces, pubs, restaurants etc.. across the world.

Scary thought but it seems more and more likely everyday. They can't seem to get it under control at all.
Without wanting to seem overly dramatic it doesn't seem we're too far from that.




 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Without over-simplifying things, there is a critical factor to bear in mind: heat and sunlight (or more specifically UV light). As parks open up headed into warmer months, these two key ingredients will also be readily on-hand, and could be found to help stem spread. (coronavirus hasn't shown immense response to heat and UV, but hot summer days certainly won't hurt)
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Anyone off to Japan soon?
Seems Disney is closing its Tokyo theme parks for 2 weeks in an attempt to stop the spread of Corona virus.
I wonder if the other Japanese parks will follow suit?
I'm thinking that some of the parks in Europe could follow suit if it becomes a pandemic; I could definitely see UK parks closing if the outbreak gets any worse in Britain.
 

Jamesss

Member
I'm supposed to be going to Japan in April.

I haven't cancelled yet but it's looking more and more likely.

Universal Studios, Fuji Q Highland and Nagashima Spa Land are also closing until mid-March.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I did see a graph somewhere saying that the virus is spreading far more quickly in countries that are currently in their "winter" period than in countries that are in their "summer" period, so it wouldn't surprise me if the warmer weather does eventually lead to a decrease in spread when it comes. The winter period also seems to be more disease-ridden in general, so it definitely wouldn't surprise me if coronavirus' stronghold on society decreases in the summer.

However, I am still very worried about the overall impact that the disease could have (not just on theme parks, but the world in general). Talks of another recession are looming after Wall Street and the FTSE 100 amongst others have had their worst week since the financial crisis in 2008. If another recession happens, then that could harm the tourism industry in a big way. Some people are also saying that the WHO warned previously of a potential "Disease X" that had the potential to become a pandemic and kill 50-80 million people worldwide, and coronavirus apparently fits the description they gave quite well so far based on its current growth trajectory. If the worst case scenarios come true and coronavirus is this mystery disease, then I'd imagine that the whole world will be on lockdown to prevent spreading it, meaning that parks and other tourist attractions will have to close.

At the moment, I think it's quite hard to predict. The current coronavirus outbreak is currently quite an odd one in that it isn't currently hitting any major extremities in terms of worldwide spread (e.g. the swine flu outbreak in 2009, which infected between 700 million and 1.4 billion worldwide and killed approximately 287,500, but only had a death proportion of around 0.2%) or proportion of deaths among those infected (e.g. the ebola outbreak in 2014 killed around 40% of those infected, but did not spread much outside of those who visited Sierra Leone or came into direct contact with someone infected), however it is pretty substantial in both categories. I think it will entirely depend on how well the virus can be contained, but regardless, I think the next few weeks/months could be a bumpier ride than any rollercoaster.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Well, it's a couple weeks later, and I think we can say it's gonna be rough. Look at where Italy is today. Entire country quarantined for a month. While there's a chance that the crisis will blow over before the high season, the epidemic will definitely impact the industry this year, worldwide, and hard. I wouldn't be surprised if a number of 2021 coasters are postponed or cancelled. Six Flags might go belly-up, as might several parks in China. I don't see Disney keeping any of their parks open throughout the entire season. Closing DLP will probably be among the first drastic measures taken in France, for instance, and it's likely to escalate from there. The closure of theme parks is low-hanging fruit as far as prevention measures go, and for good reason. Consider for instance Splash Mountain in WDW, it has an hourly capacity of 2000 people. If a sick ride op infects 1% of riders, that's 160 new cases during an 8-hour shift.

So yeah, 2020 will not be a good year for the industry. Probably worse than 2002. 2021 might not be good either. It may even take years before we're back to 2019 numbers, and I think the various players will have changed quite a bit by then.
 

JammyH

Member
There’s no chance any of the Italian parks will be opening for quite some time now that they are under lockdown.

Cases are continually increasing in France, germany, spain, Netherlands, Belgium and UK, so we could see closure of parks all across Europe next month, especially if countries go under lock down(which looks the way we are heading, especially after the situation with Italy having to take drastic measures like China did).
 

Antinos

Slut for Spinners
Bring on that global recession, baby!

It's pretty crazy to see things play out, and this is surely only the beginning. Hopefully the virus burns out over the coming weeks and everything returns to normal, but if not I hope the parks are able to tread water.

The virus has already begun to impact my winter hobby (I mentor a high school robotics team) and it's possible that my involvement this season will be cut short. Numerous events in New York state and along the west coast have been cancelled or postponed. The situation is rapidly evolving and we're beginning to realize that the first event we competed in out of four on our calendar may be our only event we attend this year. Let's hope the situation improves soon.
 
Loopings is reporting that with regards to Disneyland Paris they are stopping the Princess Pavillion stuff for now and other meet and greet characters. They also discovered a DLP employee has the virus (maintenance worker). Will not surprise me if they temporary close the park if the situation in France gets bad like in Italy. Seems some countries have a much higher death rate. Unclear whether it's because of demographics or lifestyle or a combination thereof.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Well, it's a couple weeks later, and I think we can say it's gonna be rough. Look at where Italy is today. Entire country quarantined for a month. While there's a chance that the crisis will blow over before the high season, the epidemic will definitely impact the industry this year, worldwide, and hard. I wouldn't be surprised if a number of 2021 coasters are postponed or cancelled. Six Flags might go belly-up, as might several parks in China. I don't see Disney keeping any of their parks open throughout the entire season. Closing DLP will probably be among the first drastic measures taken in France, for instance, and it's likely to escalate from there. The closure of theme parks is low-hanging fruit as far as prevention measures go, and for good reason. Consider for instance Splash Mountain in WDW, it has an hourly capacity of 2000 people. If a sick ride op infects 1% of riders, that's 160 new cases during an 8-hour shift.

So yeah, 2020 will not be a good year for the industry. Probably worse than 2002. 2021 might not be good either. It may even take years before we're back to 2019 numbers, and I think the various players will have changed quite a bit by then.
Why would 2021 be impacted, out of interest? They think there might be a vaccine by 2021, so the threat of the virus itself would in theory be gone.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Because if parks don't do so well this season, they're not going to spend money on big things for next season.
I suppose that's true, actually.

In the short term, it will definitely have an impact, but I think the industry might bounce back within a year or two. It survived the 2008 financial crisis, it survived 9/11, so I don't see why it can't survive coronavirus. Besides, people in quarantined countries might want to go somewhere fun and exciting once the current storm passes, so theme parks might even benefit in the aftermath!

As for the virus itself; I'm gradually getting more and more worried. The news reports are very morbid, everyone's panicking and it's just really hard for me not to worry about it with the current coverage. But I'm hoping that in 5-10 years' time, the theme park industry will have forgotten about coronavirus in the same way that it forgot about the 2008 recession and 9/11.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
I mean yes and no in terms of 2021 impact - big park chain planning happens on a 3-5 year cycle, so things happening in 2020 would likely have little impact on what's already planned and being activated upon for 2021.

To be pragmatic, it's going to get worse before it gets better - more municipalities, states, and nations imposing travel bans, workplaces limiting or banning leisure travel by workers, etc. HOWEVER, it also wouldn't surprise me if we were at a more-normal balance come June-July, once covid has made it's spread and the "uncertainty fear" gets filled in for folks. The biggest x-factor is individual's willingness to travel; it's my hope that fears subside as folks feel more comfortable after the next month once the initial "impact" is past us.

And, keep washing those hands folks.
 

JammyH

Member
Besides, people in quarantined countries might want to go somewhere fun and exciting once the current storm passes, so theme parks might even benefit in the aftermath!
I’m not sure. A lot of people will suffer physically from this virus, but way more people will suffer mentally at the loss of a loved one from this outbreak. I can see a high number of countries having to go under lock down (UK included) as this virus continues to spread with the way cases are increasing exponentially. People who have family members killed by this virus are not going to have visiting a theme park as a no 1 priority once the main impact of the virus is over.
 
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