Selling a city break, beach escape or culture trip? Add extra thrills by including a visit to the world’s most exciting theme parks. While Florida’s iconic parks are still setting the pace, other markets are catching up fast and there’s a world of themed fun which agents can tap into for extra commission.

Top Tip...

“Alongside the major theme parks, many small players offer good value for money and great commissions that some agents aren’t tapping into”

KEVIN BRETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HAT TOURISM MARKETING

Thrill seeking

With amusement parks opening up in more varied destinations, agents have a great opportunity to incorporate pre-booked tickets into their customers’ holiday packages.

Annabel Cove, Head of Trade Sales & Marketing at DoSomethingDifferent.com, says: “The key to selling attraction tickets is to remember that there’s always some-thing extra you can recommend. This isn’t a case of hard selling, but providing the best possible experience for your customer. They’ve come to you because they trust your knowledge and you’re uniquely placed to make recommendations to enhance their holiday and save them money.”

Purchasing attraction tickets in the UK prior to travel allows customers to take advantage of special deals and avoid the risk of an activity being sold out on arrival.

“Car hire and airport hotels are often added to holidays without a second thought,” continues Cove. “However, some agents are missing out by not offering experiences. Selling tickets can reap great rewards – our average booking is £800 for tickets alone – improving margins and the bottom line.”

The Americas

A triumphant mix of human imagination, expert engineering, commercial cunning and a sprinkle of marketing magic draws millions of visitors to the U.S amusement Meccas each year: seven of the world’s top 10 most-visited theme parks are here (Japan scoops the other three).

Orlando in Florida is the main attraction, with giants Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and Legoland Florida Resort.

The west coast is home to Disneyland Resort, plus Universal Studios Hollywood and Legoland Resort, while across the U.S Six Flags has 18 action-packed parks, plus two in Mexico and one in Canada.

In South America, Brazil’s Beto Carrero World, Fantasilandia in Chile and Argentina’s Parque de la Costa are all worth a visit.

What’s new: Pixar Pier comes to Disney California Adventure Park in summer 2018.

Toy Story Land opens at Florida’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios in June 2018. Universal Orlando’s Fast & Furious – Supercharged launches in Spring 2018 (universalorlando.com).

The Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster opens in spring 2018 at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California will add a new Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster in spring 2018.

Europe & the Middle East

Disneyland Paris remains the biggest European draw. At the end of February Disney announced a €2billion investment project for Paris that will add three new areas, based on Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars, at the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Though work won’t begin until 2021, visitors can get in the superhero mood early since a new Marvel show, featuring the likes of Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America and Black Widow, arrives this summer.

Elsewhere, Europa-Park in Germany, Efteling in the Netherlands, Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens, Spain’s PortAventura, Liseberg in Sweden, Gardaland in Italy and Puy du Fou in France are all worthwhile additions to a continental break.

In the UK, Legoland Windsor, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures are all perfect staycation additions.

The Middle East has seen several high-quality openings. Abu Dhabi boasts the fastest rollercoaster on earth, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, along with six themed lands at Warner Bros World.

IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai is the world’s biggest indoor park and Dubai Parks & Resorts offer combo-tickets for entry to its Motiongate, Bollywood, Legoland and Legoland Water Parks.

What’s new: France’s Puy du Fou is developing new venues in Spain and China.

New acrobatic show, CARO, comes to Efteling: World of Wonders in the Netherlands in September 2018.

Alton Towers Resort’s new Wicker Man attraction, a wooden rollercoaster, opens this spring.

The Isle of Wight’s Blackgang Chine is celebrating its 175th anniversary throughout 2018.

The Walking Dead: The Ride will arrive at Thorpe Park for Easter 2018.

A new Virtual Reality Park has opened at The Dubai Mall with an indoor rollercoaster and the Batman-themed Gotham City opens at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi this summer.

Asia-Pacific

For customers heading to Asia there are plenty of world-class parks to lighten any culture-heavy trip. Japan is leading the charge with Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka and Tokyo Disney Sea.

In China, Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) has six parks in the region’s top 20, including Window of the World and Happy Valley in Shenzhen, while leading Chinese theme-park brand Fantawild will have more than 30 parks operating in the next eight years.

Shanghai Disneyland opened in 2016, with Universal Studios Beijing slated for 2020.

Australia’s biggest park, Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, is worth incorporating into itineraries, along with neighbouring Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet ’n’ Wild, all available on a combo-pass.

What’s new: Disneyland Hong Kong is undergoing a $1.4billion expansion plan.

Where to book it

Greatdays’ typical package at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe in Disneyland Paris costs £576, based on a family of four sharing. Includes three nights’ accommodation and a two-day Disney Park Ticket. Greatdays is a group travel specialist tour operator and has its own award-winning Disney team.

America As You Like It has a 14-night California’s Pacific Coast Highway: San Francisco to San Diego itinerary costs from £1,840pp, based on a family of four sharing. Includes return international flights, accommodation, car hire and Southern California CityPass tickets.

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