As the economy improves so does Kings Island’s attendance, which ranked among the top 15 U.S. amusement parks in 2012.
Attendance at Kings Island grew 2 percent to 3.2 million in 2012 over the previous year, ranking 15th in the nation, according to a new report by the Themed Entertainment Association, which represents developers, designers and producers from around the world.
- By the numbers: Top 15 amusement parks
California and Florida dominated the 2012 rankings, with 13 of the 15 most-visited theme parks in the country. Ohio was the only other state to have a park in the top 15.
Kings Island ranked just one spot behind No. 14 Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. Both parks are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which ranked as the seventh largest theme-park group in the world last year.
Kings Island’s attendance has grown for three consecutive years after suffering a sharp decline in 2009. That slide was blamed on the recession.
The attendance growth at Kings Island could be a good indicator for the local economy, according to Janet Harrah, senior director for the Center for Economic Analysis and Development at Northern Kentucky University.
“When the economy is doing better, people have more money to spend on entertainment,” Harrah said. Entertainment “is one of the first things people cut and (one of the first things) people spend more on when the economy improves.”
Harrah said strong attendance at Kings Island could lead to more hiring of teenagers, who have a higher unemployment rate than the overall population and need experience to help them prepare for the workforce as adults.
Kings Island doesn’t comment on attendance or revenue. A park spokesman, though, said the park in Mason has increased its seasonal staffing “by a couple hundred” since 2009.
“Overall, we fill more than 4,000 seasonal positions each year,” spokesman Don Helbig said.