When you think of a theme park, generally you think of roller coasters, waterparks, zoos, aquariums, and other attractions of the sort. In 2015, Italy plans to ditch the traditional theme park style and open up what will become the “Disneyland of Food”. With Italy being famous for its cuisine and culture, the theme park will feature nearly 125 restaurants, grocery stores, food courts, and learning labs. There will even be “live trees” where customers can pick their produce, as well as spaces for kids to play with food.
The graph above shows Italy’s gross domestic product growth rate for the past few years. As you can see, GDP expanded 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013, which was its first increase in 10 quarters. With this economic downturn that Italy has been facing, creating the world’s largest theme park dedicated to Italian food might just be what the economy needs. Despite the large funds that will go into the development of this project, revenues are expected to be around 86 million euros ($118 million). With revenues like this, the theme park could easily help Italy’s economy start to emerge.
The development of a theme park has different effects and consequences on the economy of the host region. For example, Italy’s “Disneyland of Food” is more aimed towards the potential benefit of creating jobs to ultimately spur consumer spending, creating an educational opportunity for children, and promoting their culture and cuisine. Not only will the park provide a fun way for tourists to get a taste of Italy, but it will also provide a learning experience for young children. With all these goals in mind, Italy has the hopes of attracting some of its yearly tourists to the city of Bologna as a way to boost GDP growth. The theme park isn’t necessarily something that a tourist would visit Italy specifically for; however, if you were already planning to visit Italy, it would be a great addition to the city of Bologna in terms of bringing in extra revenue from tourists looking to experience the culture and cuisine of Italy.
On the other hand, other theme parks such as Cedar Point are solely focused on bringing in revenue for their host city. Sandusky isn’t exactly a city that would attract tourists on its own so building what has become the roller coaster capital of the world was one way to boost consumer spending. Each year, millions of people from all over the world travel to Sandusky specifically to experience the thrill of Cedar Point. After a successful season last year, Cedar Point revenues went up 6%, reaching nearly a billion dollars in revenue. With revenues like this year after year, you can see why Cedar Point is such a huge asset to the economy.
Not only will Italy’s “Disneyland of Food” create thousands of new jobs, providing income to customers which will ultimately spur consumer spending and result in GDP growth, but as the president of the city of Eataly states, “It is an opportunity to show off Italy’s extraordinary biodiversity of resources.” “And to help push us towards our economic potential.” With a little bit of advertising, I think Italy’s theme park of food will be a great effort to harness tourism in Italy to kick-start the economy by creating jobs and spurring consumer spending.