Alton Towers visitor figures through the years

Discussion in 'Talbot Street' started by Matt N, 19th Jan 2018.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Tales from the Towers has a bibliography at the back, and from memory, I think it cites newspaper articles from the time. For example, I think 1994’s was cited as a Guardian article released the year after. I’d have to look at it to be sure.
     
  2. Squiggs

    Squiggs TS Site Team Team Member

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    Hey, I have some figures for you.

    1997 - 2.7 million
    1998 - 2.78 million
    1999 - 2.65 million
    2000 - 2.45 million
    2001 - 2.3 million

    These were published by the Towers themselves in the 2002 student information pack.
     
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  3. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Oh wow; thanks very much @Squiggs! I’ll insert them in alongside the figures I already have! I am missing a few of those years, come to think of it...
     
  4. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Somewhere some years ago was the actual figures for all UK Merlin parks through their years since opening, I never saved it, it would have been really interesting reference now. I can't remember which planning app for which park it even was. It was a graph
     
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  5. Squiggs

    Squiggs TS Site Team Team Member

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    Another few for you, this time from the 1999 Student Information Pack, which presented slightly more precise numbers.

    1995 - 2,700,000
    1996 - 2,749,000
    1997 - 2,701,000
    1998 - 2,782,000

    I've also seen other material published by the park referencing 2.7 million, so my assumption is that is the correct figure for that year rather than 3 million.
     
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  6. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks @Squiggs; I’ll get to work adding those now! Where did you find those student packs, out of interest?
     
    Posted 1st Jul 2020
    #86
  7. Squiggs

    Squiggs TS Site Team Team Member

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    I've had them for years, I have all sorts of random stuff in my collection. I just happened to have them out to look something up for the Lock In and it reminded me they had those figures in.
     
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    Posted 1st Jul 2020
    #87
  8. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    A few posts back I suggest that if 1995 had an attendance drop, it might be because the park didn’t cope well with the crowds in 1994. I was just looking through an old issue of Attractions Management Magazine from 3/4/2014. It has an interview with Bruce McKendrick who was Tussaud’s director of theme parks. He said:

    “Last year [2003] was more difficult than planned for the parks. Also, in 2002 we launched a new ride at Alton Towers called Air. It led to big queues and customers’ expectations went down. Because we hadn’t delivered as well as we should have, it may have put some people off”.

    That doesn’t mean the same thing necessarily happened in 94/95 and Air may have more reliability issues that Nemesis, which no doubt contributed to any negative guest feedback. It’s impossible to identify the cause of a change in attendance with much certainty, unless it’s something really extreme, like visitors to Paultons doubling when Peppa Pig World opened. But presumably the director of theme parks had the information to make an informed opinion. This pattern of a park adding a popular new attraction, attendance increasing, weak guest feedback and then falling again is common in the industry.
     
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    Posted 4th Jul 2020
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  9. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Air had many more issues in its opening year than nemesis.
    If I remember rightly, airs problems overran into year 2.
    Nemesis didnt have that many issues, just massive queues.
    I did a few three hour queues for both early on.
    Air was constantly breaking down.
    Ten minute waits then evac on the lift hill was a very routine occurrence.
     
    Posted 4th Jul 2020
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  10. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    This video gives an interesting insight into the problems with B&M flying coasters.



    There are always lots of variables that can affect guest feedback and attendance. I do agree that Air's reliability was no doubt a factor.
     
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    Posted 4th Jul 2020
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  11. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Something I must admit I find very interesting about these figures is that there seems to be a very sudden slump as soon as we hit the new millennium, going off of the data that we have. Right through to 1999, the park seems to solidly maintain figures somewhere in the ballpark of 2.7 million, and then in 2000, park attendance falls to under 2.5 million, not exceeding this level again until 2008, at which point the park begins to resemble a very similar growth pattern to 1992-1994 before hitting a peak in 2010 and then declining again. Very interesting... I wonder why this happened?
     
    Posted 4th Jul 2020
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  12. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    I noticed all these peaks at the time, confirmed with one of the parking guys who has done the job for literally decades at the Towers..."we used to fill all the tarmac every day in the summer".
    All seem down to fashion, apart from the obvious with the smiler.
    Like all other leisure interests, things go in and out of the spotlight...like ten pin bowling and golf...they are simply out of fashion with the younger generation, and are kept going by the "oldies".
    Oldies generally tend to give up on theme parks.
     
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    Posted 4th Jul 2020
    #92
  13. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Probably because the repeat investment declined over time and the park's value for money was decreasing, so people less likely to return as regularly. I've noticed in recent years the queues for the big coasters have gone down since I was visiting as a kid, so maybe the longer queues back then played a factor.
     
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    Posted 4th Jul 2020
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  14. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Its not just the lack if investment...it is all the closed shows, flats and attractions over the years.
    There simply isnt as much to do if you are not into coasters.
    It used to be a full family day out for all generations, now it is aimed at a younger market.
     
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    Posted 4th Jul 2020
    #94
  15. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    I think that's undoubtably true. I always scratch my head when people talk about the 1990s as the perfect decade for visiting the park. It's true that it was very exciting as there was lots going on, but in terms of the number of things you were able to experience, it was pretty poor, even on a moderately busy day.

    I vividly recall a coach trip back from the park in 1998 and people were talking about which rides they had been able to get on and that was very much the conversation, because it was a given you would have had to pick and choose because of the queues.

    One guy claimed he had managed to ride Corkscrew, Nemesis & Oblivion in the space of six hours, but he was decried as a liar. Felt like a mathematical impossibility.
     
    Posted 5th Jul 2020
    #95
  16. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Yep the removal of a family boat ride (Charlie/Toyland), removal of a family show (Sir Algernon /Ice Age and before that the Music Powerhouse in Fountian Square), no more ice show (although CBeebies does now have other shows again)
    Alton Towers used to feel like a family day out with plenty to do without the coasters, but now it’s either a day full of coasters (plus Duel/Hex) or a day for small CBeebies kids. There isn’t anything Disney style for the whole family and I think this is the big change from the 90s and into the 2000s. The loss of the Peter Rabbit ice show is probably a big deal for the overall feel to the park and the switch to being more coaster oriented.
     
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    Posted 5th Jul 2020
    #96
  17. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah to be fair I also remember that same conversation on a school coach trip 10 years ago to Thorpe Park when they had a lot of big rides by then but the queues were ridiculous, this was peak summer though and the park was more popular then. I suppose it's always been a problem.

    Good operations and have come and gone through the parks history, some parks today have really terrible operations, and lack of flats to soak up extra crowds, but generally we have it good for waiting times today

    Back then though it's easier to see the state of the ride when you eventually reached them were better, and the way queues were designed on those older rides is a lot more bearable than say Smiler or Rita
     
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    Posted 6th Jul 2020
    #97
  18. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    You cant remember the original cattle pens for the flume then, before they sent it round the lake!
    Corky queue wasnt great either.
    Back in the day though, you could look at a queue and estimate it pretty much to the minute!
     
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    Posted 6th Jul 2020
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  19. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    From the 90s period Rick was mentioning I mean. The queues before that time looked absolutely horrendous and most got remodelled in the 90s (or sometime around then anyway)
     
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    Posted 6th Jul 2020
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  20. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    The TEA attendance report for 2019 has been released and is reporting a 1.4% growth in visits to Alton Towers over the previous year - adding 30,000 new visits for a total of 2,130,000 guests.
     
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