In this economy, I'll take good news wherever I can get it. And this is great news: On Tuesday, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, owner/operator of 11 amusement parks and six waterparks in North America, announced its overall attendance for 2008 was 22.7 million visitors, up 3 percent over 2007.
This is very encouraging to me, considering our industry first faced $4-plus gas here in the United States over the summer, then an economic crisis in the fall the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades. And let's not forget—2007 was a good year for the business, so going above and beyond in 2008 despite external market forces is particularly heartening.
You can read Cedar Fair's press release here, but in it CEO Dick Kinzel said:
"Overall, we are pleased to have achieved increases in year-over-year attendance in such a challenging consumer market. … We believe families chose to stay closer to home this summer, and we were successful in positioning our parks as an affordable alternative to the weeklong, out-of-town, family vacation. It is likely that many of the difficult market conditions we faced in 2008 will be present throughout 2009, and we believe we are well positioned to meet these challenges."