Florida’s theme park industry is bouncing back faster than most states’, IAPPA study says

Study cites policymaker response assisted with recovery

(Photo courtesy: Thomas Metevia) (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Though the theme park and attractions industry is still feeling the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a new study shows Florida is doing comparatively better than most other states.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, or IAPPA, released a new study that observes how the pandemic has affected employment within the industry.

The study, conducted by an IAPPA historian, uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and compares employment numbers from 2019 and 2020. IAPPA found the attractions and theme park industry experienced an employment loss five times more than the average employment loss across all other industries.

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However, when comparing Florida’s statistics with other popular states known for their theme parks, the Sunshine State seems to be recovering from the impact of the pandemic quicker than others.

The IAPPA study specifically compares Florida and California as both states have similar attractions.

As the two states are the largest employers in the amusement parks and arcade industry, the study looks at their peak seasons and employment data to recognize recovery trends during the pandemic.

Most states shut down their parks early into the start of the pandemic in 2020, with Florida’s theme parks choosing to close their gates in March. However, Florida reopened its facilities in July, thus mitigating its severe unemployment numbers, according to the study.

The Employment Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Attractions Industry, IAPPA. (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

California has largely kept its theme parks closed, thus experiencing severe unemployment numbers within the industry chalking in the lowest July on record in terms of employment numbers, the study shows. IAPPA adds, that according to its analysis, California is bearing the brunt of employment loss within the industry.

When comparing coronavirus health and safety protocols, IAPPA notes Florida worked quicker than most other states to reopen facilities with enhanced procedures to mitigate the virus.

Yet, the study notes, Florida’s theme park and attractions industry hasn’t fully recovered and likely won’t until 2022.

“While IAAPA members that have reopened have proven they can do so safely, these businesses continue to struggle due to consumer reluctance and guest capacity limitations, severely affecting revenue and the ability to bring back and rehire staff to previous levels,” the study said.

To read the full study, click here.