Virtual Reality is here to stay
It seems like yesterday when virtual reality broke into the attractions industry, but it’s been some years now since the first appearances of this technology in theme parks. The first virtual reality implementation within a roller-coaster dates back to 2015: this event created a new benchmark for amusement professionals and it made plain for all that VR was no “joke” or “fad”. Quite the opposite, virtual reality is here to stay and it doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.   As a professional in the attractions industry, you have to base your choices on data that will give you help you understand the direction the industry is headed. In June 2017, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions released an accurate report created in cooperation with Euromonitor Consulting about the state of the attractions industry.   In the charts you can find in the document, two of them are particularly useful to understand how virtual reality stacks up against other attractions.  

Current Attractions at Facilities (from IAAPA Amusement Park Benchmark Report, June 2017)

  In the first chart, you can see what the most popular attractions are. It won’t come as a surprise: the first positions are occupied by those attractions that are traditionally associated with the world of theme parks: roller-coasters, kiddie rides, carousels… However, 28% of the venues involved in the survey already offer a VR simulator. Almost one out of three venues offer this kind of attraction. That’s amazing, considering that virtual reality was initially labeled as “fad” by many insiders. Numbers now tell a whole different story.  

Desired new attractions in the next 2-3 years (from IAAPA Amusement Park Benchmark Report, June 2017)

  And the VR popularity doesn’t seem to stop anytime soon. It is quite clear if you take a look at the second chart. Venue managers were asked to list which kind of attraction they plan to implement in the next one to three years. Well, the results were quite self-explanatory.   The attractions that take the center stage are, once again, the most iconic ones in the industry. Quite predictably, theme parks are going to install new roller-coasters (31%), flat rides (24%) and dark rides (22%). Virtual reality simulators (19%) land at the fourth place of this ranking. To give you an idea about the importance of these numbers, there is more request for new VR attractions than for kiddie rides (14%) and carousels (4%). That would represent a huge change from the actual situation.   Is there for all to see: virtual reality is shaking the industry of fun by the roots. If you are offering a VR attraction to your guests or you plan about getting one soon, you’re on the right path. This is definitely the right move to keep your venue updated for the next years.  

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