Theme Park Feasibility Study

Leisure Business Advisors (LBA) specializes in conducting the feasibility study for a variety of leisure businesses, including theme parks. An independent industry expert usually prepares this detailed study, which is required by potential lenders and investors.

The feasibility study is the first step of the development process and provides critical guidance for design, construction, and operations. It evaluates potential market support and forecasts usage. It determines potential financial performance and maximum warranted development costs. It provides detailed physical planning parameters. It recommends the attraction mix and includes images for use in initial presentations. The following paragraphs outline the major tasks typically involved in conducting a feasibility study.

Task 1: Orientation Meeting

An initial meeting would be held to discuss the project in more detail and to see the prospective site if one has been chosen.

Task 2: Site and Area Evaluation

The site and local area would be evaluated to determine its effect on potential usage. Factors include:

  • Market proximity
  • Physical limitations or constraints
  • Access routes
  • Traffic patterns
  • Surrounding development
  • Potential complementary and competitive facilities

Task 3: Concept Description and Industry Trends

The type of leisure business being studied would be described and industry trends discussed. Readers of the feasibility study may be unfamiliar with the concept and this section of the report provides an introduction before specific project-related issues are examined.

Task 4: Market Analysis

The market areas would be defined based on distance from the site. Demographic characteristics for the resident market would be analyzed to provide an indication of support. This would typically include:

  • Population growth
  • Age distribution
  • Income distribution

The tourist market would be defined and analyzed. Based on available information, this analysis would likely examine:

  • Current size
  • Historic growth
  • Other characteristics

Task 5: Evaluation of Comparable Facilities

Selected comparable facilities would be examined. Available reported information would be provided on individual characteristics, including:

  • Name and location
  • Physical description
  • Financial performance
  • Development costs

Task 6: Annual Usage

Potential annual usage for the proposed facility would be estimated for the first five years of operation based on a number of factors, including:

  • Planned components
  • Size of the available markets
  • Qualitative market characteristics
  • Market performance achieved by comparable facilities
  • Location and potential competition

Task 7: Physical Planning and Concept Development

LBA would make physical planning recommendations needed to service expected market demand. The specific parameters vary from one leisure attraction to another. For larger projects, LBA can also provide master planning and schematic design services. Physical planning parameters may include:

  • Recommended types of activities
  • Recommended mix and sizing
  • Recommended visitor service space
  • Minimum land area or building space needed

Initial conceptual efforts may also be provided. These could include:

  • Functional layout diagram for the new leisure attraction
  • Narrative description of a typical visit from the perspective of a typical family
  • 3D computer graphics visualizations of selected activities

The final report could also include a video presenting the results of the feasibility study with a "fly-through" or "walk through" computer animation of part of the new leisure attraction.

Task 8: Financial Analysis

The financial analysis for the proposed facility would be based on the selected concept and potential usage. Financial estimates for the first five years of operations would include:

  • Revenues by category
  • Operating expenses
  • Operating profit or surplus
  • Return-on-investment for equity investors, if applicable

Task 9: Warranted and Typical Development Cost

LBA would determine the warranted development cost or investment based on potential profitability. This is the recommended maximum amount that should be spent to effectively develop the project and return a reasonable return-on-investment to equity investors. This warranted amount would be compared to the actual development costs for other comparable facilities. Relative size would be taken into consideration. This comparison would provide guidance as to whether the proposed project could be developed for its warranted investment. If it can be, the project is considered financially feasible.

Past Theme Park Projects

Selected past theme park and amusement park projects are described below. These include past consulting efforts by John Gerner, LBA's managing director.

Proposed Disney Theme Park (Latin America)

The Walt Disney Company is the leading theme park developer in the world. Its locations include Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Park (Paris), Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland. As a senior consultant with Economics Research Associates in the 1980s, John Gerner (LBA's managing director) evaluated locations in Latin America for a proposed Disney theme park.

Universal Studios: Back to the Future - The Ride (Worldwide)

Universal Studios has theme parks in the USA, Japan, and Singapore. John Gerner, LBA's managing director, served as president of Berkshire Ridefilm during the early 1990s. During that time, the company produced the highly acclaimed simulation film for "Back to the Future - The Ride", which is currently at Universal Studios Japan.

Major New Theme Park (China)

Village Roadshow is Australia's largest amusement park operator and owns Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild Water World, and other attractions. In 2011, LBA evaluated the market and financial potential of developing a major new attraction in China for Village Roadshow.

Hopi Hari (Brazil)

Hopi Hari is one of the largest theme parks in South America, and is located near Sao Paulo in Brazil. It is 76 hectares (188 acres) in size, and cost USD$220 million to develop.  As a subcontractor to International Theme Park Services, John Gerner (LBA's managing director) evaluated the market and financial feasibility of Hopi Hari.

Pavilion Nostalgia Park (USA)

Pavilion Nostalgia Park is located within the Broadway at the Beach tourist complex in Myrtle Beach, and opened in 2007. During its planning stage, LBA evaluated Pavilion Nostalgia Park's potential financial performance for Burroughs & Chapin Co, Inc.

Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone (China)

The Nanshan Culture Tourism Zone is approximately 27 hectares (67 acres) in size, and contains several tourist attractions. These include the Hainan Culture Park, Felicity and Longevity Park, and Buddhist Culture Park. Its centerpiece is the Guanyin Statue of Hainan, which is currently the fourth tallest statue in the world. As a subcontractor to Economics Research Associates, John Gerner (LBA's managing director) evaluated the feasibility of developing this major tourism project.

La Ronde (Canada)

La Ronde is a theme park in Montreal that is approximately 59 hectares (146 acres) in size. It offers 40 rides, including ten roller coasters. As a subcontractor to Economics Research Associates, John Gerner (LBA's managing director) evaluated the potential of expanding this theme park and adding year-round uses on the site. These uses included a retail entertainment center, waterpark resort hotel, and expanded marina.

Six Flags New England (USA)

Formerly named "Riverside Park", Six Flags New England is located in Massachusetts. As a subcontractor to Economics Research Associates, John Gerner (LBA's managing director) evaluated the theme park's operating history, market potential, and likely annual attendance based on its planned capital improvements.

Cedar Point (USA)

Cedar Point is a major theme park in Ohio. John Gerner (LBA's managing director) was a senior consultant with Economics Research Associates. He evaluated the impact of various factors on past operating performance. These factors included capital reinvestment, pricing, marketing efforts, economic conditions, and weather.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (USA)

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is located in Virginia and has been repeatedly voted the world's most beautiful theme park by amusement park enthusiasts. John Gerner (LBA's managing director) was an internal productivity supervisor during the early 1980s, and evaluated the operating performance of individual rides and other components of the park. He also examined past financial performance based on various factors, and prepared the theme park's financial breakeven analysis.

More Information

Click on one of these links for additional information. We are pleased to present Leisure Development Pulse to help inform prospective developers. It showcases selected new attractions worldwide. Details includes name, location, year opened, size, and cost.  Onsite videos are shown, if available.

Contact Information

Email Address for Initial Inquiries:
info@leisure-business.com
 
Office Address:
Leisure Business Advisors LLC
2010 Princess Anne Avenue
Richmond, VA  23223  USA

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