Design and development of touristic products Main author: Gábor Michalkó Szilvia Boros, János Csapó, Éva Happ, Pál Horváth, Anikó Husz, Mónika Jónás-Beri, Katalin Lőrinc, Andrea Máté, Gábor Michalkó, Erzsébet Printz-Markó, Krisztina Priszinger, Tamara



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Type

Subtype

Product elements

1. Attractions

Mechanical

Zorb, Bob, Climbing wall

 

Motorised

Quad

 

Built on sight of interest

Park, Garden, Zoo, Plant house

 

Exhibition locations

Open-air stage, 3D cinema

 

Sport facilities

Horse riding, golf, paddling

2. Catering

 

Restaurant, buffet, coffee shop, drink vending machine

3. Commerce

 

Souvenir shop

4. Accommodations

Hotel, camping site, youth hostel

5. Service infrastructure

Parking place, telephone, visitor centre

6. Support activities

Administration office, park maintenance

Source: by the author, based on Dzeng, R. J – Lee, H.Y. 2007

3. Characteristics of the demand

Coming from the versatility of theme parks, considerable differences can be explored in the characteristics of the demand side. Theme parks are addressed to segments with different motivations, interests, of various demographic and sociological features. The characteristics of the demand also depend on which phase of the life cycle the product is in, and what kinds of tourists (defined by Cohen’s and Plog’s typology) can be expected. While heritage parks are designed for the domestic visitors, aquaparks having gained international recognition and based on mass tourism also receive large numbers of foreign guests. It is also true for the leading European parks built around culture-related issues that most of their visitors are domestic tourists, i.e. 80% of the guests in the French Parc Asterix are French citizens.

Theme parks have complex attraction and motivation structures. In each case the central function is entertainment, but several auxiliary functions must also be highlighted, as they give the unique character, the specific features of the parks. The classic function of parks is recreation, leisure, which is accompanied in some parks by education and teaching. The latter function is founded by experience pedagogy. In addition to education and teaching it is adventure therapy that gives an even greater chance of specialisation to the parks. Approaching theme parks from the demand side, the expansion of the parks is oriented towards the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, although on the basis of the number of visitors it is still establishments concentrating on mass tourism and the satisfaction of the most basic needs that prevail. Among the latest types of theme parks, we have to mention heritage and adventure parks, which, in addition to entertainment, target the higher level of hierarchy of needs. On the demand side, one of the reactions to the transitions of the post-Fordist tourism – including the increase of demand-orientation – is the change of the direction of developments.

4. Operation of the market of the product, trends

These days the model of the modern entertainment parks is going through significant changes. Increased differentiation and the adaptation to the local endowments have resulted in the birth of two large categories: theme parks (with further functions in addition to entertainment) and entertainment – fun – parks. However, the separation of theme parks from entertainment parks is not always clear-cut. The topic of the former is often too general, built on a geographical or historical event, phenomenon.

The popularity of theme parks is indicated by the fact that their number exceeds 750 in the USA, and the number of their visitors is over 300 million per year. The increase in the number of the theme parks, however, has led to the saturation of their original market. The high investments and operational costs do not allow the coverage of small market niches. Actors must adapt to the intensification of the competition. There is competition not only among the individual parks; services targeting similar motivations are also to be considered as competitors of the parks. A “golden rule” for the success of theme parks is the ability of continuous renewal; they should be able to offer a new attraction to the visitors every year, which, in addition to attracting first time visitors, also increases the willingness to return. European theme parks spend each year 20% of their revenues on the average on the improvement of the quality and range of their services. Approximately 60% of this amount is covered from the sales of entrance tickets; the remaining 40% is from catering and commercial activities.

The future lies in popular topics that allow the application of modern technical solutions. An example to be mentioned is Planete Futuroscope (5) near Poitiers in France, featuring the latest audiovisual technology. The basis principle of the attractions is that the boundary between reality and fiction is blurred by the technical solutions. One of the most famous units in the park is Cinéma Dynamic where spectators are seated in moving chairs which are moved in accordance with the action in the films, making spectators almost participants in the story. This park has attracted more than 31 million visitors from all over the world since its opening in 1987 – but 95% of them were domestic citizens.

 

Table 2: Most visited theme parks in the world







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