Worlds of experience
“The man who has lived the most is not he who has counted the most years but he who has most felt life. Men have been buried at one hundred who died at their birth.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s words, spoken 150 years ago, are now more relevant than ever. If we are looking for a common denominator for the diversity of modern leisure activities, we find it in the term “experience”. People today want everything in their leisure time: relaxation and activity, culture and nature, stagings and simplicity, silence and social interaction, exoticism and comfort, as well as a diverse range of consumption options. Above all, however, they want to experience something with which they can identify and about which they can easily talk and relate to others.
This wishful thinking is most likely to be fulfilled in the numerous artificial worlds of experience that compete for visitors. Visiting theme parks, Luna Parks, children’s fun parks, Tivoli Parks, water parks, safari parks, brand parks, experience parks and leisure parks are all very popular leisure activities among Germans. According to the Foundation’s latest studies, almost half of respondents have “real enjoyment with family and friends” in the artificial worlds of leisure and experience. Visitors also praise the exciting atmosphere, the attractiveness and the perfect illusions that are created. The diversion from everyday life is also particularly important. However, people are aware of the limits of this escape from the daily routine – visitors’ demands of the artificial worlds of leisure and experience can be summed up as follows: “Whisk me away to a dream world but have me back in time for supper”.
A number of trends can be predicted for the future.
Numerous fairground rides have already reached their physical limits. In the future, therefore, it will no longer be a case of “higher, faster and more”, but rather “more atmosphere, more design, more social interaction”. Education will also become increasingly important in the future.
The keyword “edutainment” is becoming increasingly significant – in zoos or theme parks, in science centres or museums, in brand parks or botanical gardens, visitors not only want to be entertained in these locations but also want to learn something.
The demographic trend will also lead to a growing requirement for passive activities. In this context, the sociability and the interaction between visitors themselves will undergo a renaissance.
As the trend for eventisation evolves, many traditional (high) culture events are tending to become “worlds of experience” and veering towards the delicate balance between the authentic core and the artificial staging.