Alton Towers visitor figures through the years

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
The TEA report is bobbins and always has been. This shouldn't be a revelation.
Interestingly, it’s been quite accurate in the past. Some years within the past decade (I think it was 2018, 2017, 2015, 2013 and 2012) have been listed correctly by TEA to within 100,000, or even as little as 50,000 in some cases, according to the Merlin graph.

I wonder why the discrepancy has suddenly grown so much in recent years?

The TEA report also seems more accurate for some of the mainland European and American parks. These parks publicly report their figures, though…

What is TEA’s method for working out their estimates, out of interest?
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Alton Towers' visitor figures are way less now than they were a decade ago - they have made a choice to have high yield, lower volume.
There doesn’t look to be that much difference to me; according to Merlin, 2021 still attracted 2.35 million, which was nearly as high as 2012’s 2.4 million. And that was with a month of the season gone and restrictions in place until July; I’d wager that that figure could well have matched the 2.5 million ballpark seen in 2019 and 2013 had these detracting factors not been in place.

Or are you referring to the likes of 2010, where over 3 million was seen?

To me, the figures don’t looked to have dropped that much, if at all, since the early to mid 2010s. 2019 appeared roughly back on a par with 2013, at around 2.5 million, and given the factors working against high attendance in 2021, the post-COVID trend appears promising.
 

Matt.GC

TS Member
Alton Towers' visitor figures are way less now than they were a decade ago - they have made a choice to have high yield, lower volume.
Have they? Why have they been giving away entry to the park with soap bottles and chocolate bars whilst selling bargain basement season passes; at the same time they've been closing secondary spend outlets such as shops and restaurants?

It seems the complete opposite to me. They've been ramming people inside an inferior park at bargain basement prices in the hope they'll fork out for one of their extortionately pieces hotel rooms. I can't spend money at Towers these days even if I tried. I get in for a cheap price because I've bought a park annual pass, when I'm thirsty or hungry I have to hunt high and low for somewhere to spend my money and they turf me out at 4pm before I get much of a chance to do so anyway. So McDonald's or the local Sainsbury's on the way home it is.

Seems like they're adopting the opposite strategy of pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap to me.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Have they? Why have they been giving away entry to the park with soap bottles and chocolate bars whilst selling bargain basement season passes; at the same time they've been closing secondary spend outlets such as shops and restaurants?

It seems the complete opposite to me. They've been ramming people inside an inferior park at bargain basement prices in the hope they'll fork out for one of their extortionately pieces hotel rooms. I can't spend money at Towers these days even if I tried. I get in for a cheap price because I've bought a park annual pass, when I'm thirsty or hungry I have to hunt high and low for somewhere to spend my money and they turf me out at 4pm before I get much of a chance to do so anyway. So McDonald's or the local Sainsbury's on the way home it is.

Seems like they're adopting the opposite strategy of pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap to me.
They stopped the bargain basement season passes, cheapest annual pass is now £119 or the Discovery Pass at £89 that only allows entry on quiet days anyway. I do agree the crazy gate price and 2for1 vouchers need to go, but the trouble is it works as free advertising too well.
I think the reason they are going for fewer visitors is also because they aren’t operating food and beverage at full capacity, they know they can’t deal with a full park. They really need to fix that but I expect recruiting enough staff is an issue, hence all the food vans as that makes the staff someone else’s issue.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
Have they? Why have they been giving away entry to the park with soap bottles and chocolate bars whilst selling bargain basement season passes; at the same time they've been closing secondary spend outlets such as shops and restaurants?

It seems the complete opposite to me. They've been ramming people inside an inferior park at bargain basement prices in the hope they'll fork out for one of their extortionately pieces hotel rooms. I can't spend money at Towers these days even if I tried. I get in for a cheap price because I've bought a park annual pass, when I'm thirsty or hungry I have to hunt high and low for somewhere to spend my money and they turf me out at 4pm before I get much of a chance to do so anyway. So McDonald's or the local Sainsbury's on the way home it is.

Seems like they're adopting the opposite strategy of pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap to me.

Yes, yes they have.

Perhaps part of the issue of it being rammed is due to the loss of attractions - but the days of 30,000 at Alton are long gone. The busiest days of the season now are 20-22,000 - with typical Saturdays being 12-14,000 - well below the levels we used to see with 2 hour queues on every ride across the park every weekend. Yes, there are exceptions, yes some rides are badly operated, yes the park closes too early off peak, yes the park is dirty, yes there are issues etc. etc. - but guest volume is lower than it was.

Also, to add - season passes are not "bargain basement" as they once were.

High yield/low volume generally means that each guest's entry price value is higher than it used to be. At one stage it was below £15pp - unsustainable.
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Guest numbers have fallen but the loss in capacity across the board has disguised it. The park has lost rides, shops and F&B outlets which makes it seem much busier for a given number of guests. The biggest giveaway is how much quieter the paths are these days

The guest experience with 20k on park was far better in 2010 than today, that sort of figure back then was just a normal weekend but now they only really get those sort of numbers on event days.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Out of interest, when are you holding up as the previous “higher” point for guest figures?

I only ask because in terms of a net decrease, they don’t seem to have gone down that much, if at all, in the last decade.

2012’s attendance figure was 2.4 million.

2021’s was 2.35 million, and that was with the season being a month shorter and the capacity remaining restricted until July.

If we look back to just before COVID, where nothing was affecting the figures; 2019 was actually higher than 2012 according to Merlin, at 2.5 million. That put it only slightly lower than 2013, which most consider to have been a successful year pre-crash.
 

rob666

TS Member
2021 figures are completely out of line because of Covid.
All the parks had massively increased attendance...high pent up demand after lockdowns, and a lack of continental alternatives for holidays, meant attendance everywhere was up.
Blackpool had zero quiet opening days in 2021...not a usual season.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
2021 figures are completely out of line because of Covid.
All the parks had massively increased attendance...high pent up demand after lockdowns, and a lack of continental alternatives for holidays, meant attendance everywhere was up.
Blackpool had zero quiet opening days in 2021...not a usual season.
What I would counter there is that the parks lost nearly a month of operation due to opening in mid-April, which would wipe a good couple of hundred thousand off a regular year at somewhere like Alton. The attendance also remained capped until July (at the very earliest), so visitation should in theory have been no higher than in 2020 on those capped days.

The likely reason (or at very least a significant contributing factor) why the attendance increase for 2021 was so drastic is because of how little the parks operated in 2020, as well as the fact that every day they did operate was capped. In 2021, the parks only missed a month of operation, and the parks’ attendance was only capped until July. Even if it was capped beyond July, the cap was likely to be lower.

Your explanation also wouldn’t explain why Chessington’s 2022 figure still showed an increase of nearly 200,000 over 2021. If 2021 was an anomaly due to pent up demand and lack of continental holiday options, surely Chessington would have decreased again in 2022, no?

It should also be noted that none of the 4 Merlin parks hit their 2019 (pre-COVID) attendance in 2021… Alton admittedly wasn’t far away from 2019 levels, at only 6% lower, but Thorpe remained 15-20% lower, Chessington remained about 20% lower, and Legoland remained about 25% lower.
 
Last edited:
Top