From the Global North to the Global South, there are hundreds of theme and parks, serving a billion of people throughout the world. According to information, the United States, the United Kingdom and some countries in the Europe remain the capital of theme and parks. In the United States and the world in general, Disney and Universal has been found as the leading park. Other continents such as Africa has been on the emerging pipeline in the last decade offering outstanding attractions.
Globally, theme and parks are part of segments in the tourism sector delivering revenue to governments and helping individuals earning certain level of income. The contribution is expected to grow as more products and services are being developed by the concerned stakeholders in the sector. Sustainable tourism encompasses the stakeholders’ ability to attract and get substantial spending from the tourists and site-goers through innovative and valuable products and services. Leisure or recreational aspect of the global tourism has been growing since 2015 because of the place of the segment in the attainment of sustainable development goals, especially targets associated with building resilient cities and healthy people.
Amusement park as a subset of leisure tourism is being visited by individuals and families because of the vegetation which has been seen as one of the means of having a healthy life. In developed and developing countries, amusement parks are the places old and young people visit during holidays or festivals and occasionally when the need arises. In the last 10 years, the parks have seen increases in the number of visitors, most importantly baby-boomer visitors.
Attendance has continued to be the main driver of spending by the visitors globally. A global amusement park outlook report indicates that attendance growth for 2019 is 3.6%. This is expected to increase to 4.0% in 2020 and 4.3% in 2021 with the expectation that the global spending at the parks would be $60.5 billion in 2022. As the governments and players continue capturing value from the visitors, the concern among the stakeholders, especially the visitors, is that what has been the place of the Trans Amusement Park owned by the Oyo State government in the global theme and amusement park industry.
In its early days, visitors believe that the park was a significant contributor to the socioeconomic growth of the Ibadan North Local Council, the host community, and the state in general. The community which had 302,271 residents in 1991, 308,119 residents in 2006 and 432,900 residents in 2016. Over 61% of the residents fall within age 15 and 64 years, indicating high potential local visitors for the park. In addition to the age as factor for visiting the park, marital status, educational qualification, income, occupation and the distance also remain the principal forces.
Checks reveals that the park has facilities such as Panoramic wheel, Chair-O- plane, Dragon ride, Telecombat, Merry-go-round, Niagara-Falls, Swings and kiddies’ manual rides. However, for the past 2 years, visitors have been wondering about the usefulness of the park having been reduced to mere edifice, harbouring criminals. From the select previous visitors to the park, we have understood that the park is having operational and maintenance issues. From 527 issues, the visitors believed that the place is attractive but need revamping because of the poor maintenance of the facilities and low leisure businesses.
“Barely average now. Some attempt at revamping, but not best in results. Many of the facilities are barely functional; and some that were didn’t’ look to be in great shape. As far as the family friendly equipment and rides go, probably not worth looking forward to when planning a huge fun family time out. The barely good aspect is plenty of space, some quietness, and some spots to take drinks or eat within and around the place,” one of the visitors to the park said.
These issues remain significant factors in people’s interest in the park across the country relative to other parks. Despite being one of the oldest parks, Trans Amusement Park has been experiencing low recognition and popularity issue since 2017, while Dream World Africana, Magicland and Apapa Amusement Park are soaring.
The Place of PPP
From the insights, it is glaring that the park, which was opened to the public in November 29, 1989 needs overhauling. The from the facilities to the presence of the leisure businesses, the government needs to consider public private partnership to enliven the park and ensure sustainable leisure activities. This will increase the average one and half hour being spent at the park by the visitors, which has been linked to the low leisure activities and sustainable protection.
Throughout the world, in the tourism sector, PPP has been the strategic tool for revamping attraction centers. Oyo state government should borrow a leaf from the developed and developing countries that chose a PPP approach for the development of their tourism sectors toward improved healthy living. India is a typical example in the developing world. The country has developed a number of theme and parks using the model. For instance, Glimpse of Ajwa Amusement Park Developed was built under the PPP approach.