85% of theme park visitors want an Artificial Intelligence system

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85% of consumers in the US, UK, China, Japan and Malaysia want theme parks to use artificial intelligence (AI) systems for ID verification so their visits are as trouble-free as possible, a survey by Omnico has found.

Chinese visitors are keenest, with 92% in favour of allowing AI systems to recognise them using physical attributes. Although fingertip recognition is the most popular individual method of verification across the five countries (selected by 32%), China is the exception, with facial recognition being the number one choice among visitors (41%). Palm-recognition was favoured by only 15% overall.

The figures are part of the Omnico Theme Park Barometer, surveying the expectations of 3,470 consumers in the five countries who have visited a park within the last two years.

"Theme park visitors want to be part of the revolution in technology," said Mel Taylor, CEO, Omnico Group. "Everyone can see how AI and other advances such as virtual and augmented reality will take the hassle out of visits. It's time for operators to recognise that technology is essential to giving visitors the enjoyable, all-round experience they now demand."

The survey found that 89% of visitors across the five countries want virtual reality technology to help them get more out of theme park visits by, for example, using headsets to choose rides (selected by 37%), restaurants, hotel rooms and souvenirs, to obtaining a bird's eye view of the park on arrival (36%).

Chinese visitors were most enthusiastic for the potential of VR, with 98% saying they wanted to see it integrated into theme parks. The most popular use for VR in China is for obtaining a view of the park (53%), whereas in the US and UK it is for choosing rides (42% and 34% respectively). Japanese respondents were less enthusiastic, with the most popular use for VR being the choice of restaurant (34%). For Malaysians the best use for VR is helping choose restaurants and hotel rooms (50% for each).

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