I have some breaking news for you!
We are now revealing the results of a new study conducted by the highly respected America’s Research Group (ARG). It estimates the number of Americans who might visit the life-size Noah’s Ark attraction the first year it opens in northern Kentucky in 2016.
As a result of ARG’s general population study, our projected attendance for year one at the Ark Encounter has increased. ARG originally predicted 1.2 million minimum in its 2008 study. Its new study predicts at least 1.4 million (and up to as many as 2.2 million)!
ARG is a renowned consumer behavior research and strategic consulting firm led by Britt Beemer (ARGConsumer.com). He is the same man who predicted that 400,000 visitors would tour our Creation Museum during the first year, and 404,000 turned out!
What did ARG discover in its new research that now estimates even greater attendance at the Ark?
Before I answer, I want to point out that secular groups have been misleading people concerning the Ark project, including attendance. For example, not only have they falsely declared that AiG will be taking money out of Kentucky’s state budget to build the Ark (even some liberal pastors in the state are making this bogus claim, including in a legal document), but they have taken Ark research conducted by another consultant out of context to attack our Ark project. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), fearful of the possible success of the Ark Encounter, published an article with this headline: “Boatload Of Lies: Ark Encounter Gave Ky. Officials Inflated Attendance Projections.”
Now, after ARG estimated that first-year attendance at the Ark would be 1.2 to 2.2 million, the state tourism office—per its procedure when considering a possible sales tax rebate to successful tourist attractions—used its own research consultant for attendance projections. This consultant is contracted by the state to see if tourism projects fulfill the state’s requirements for the sales tax rebate. Well, that firm clearly stated that the Ark Encounter does meet them! But did AU’s article mention that? No.
Even with that green light, however, the state’s consultant gave a much lower attendance estimate. But the state’s research firm did not conduct the much more thorough primary research that ARG performed. ARG’s Britt Beemer shared with me that, “My primary research identified that the Ark Encounter would be successful due to the vast amount of Americans who believe in the Ark. The number is close to four out of five Americans.”
Referring to the research by the state’s consultants, Beemer noted that it merely “used other Christian theme parks to suggest the proposed estimate should be in the 500,000 people range, not the 1.2 to 1.4 million visitors I projected. But you never refute primary research with market research because they are two different methodologies. You must refute primary research with a primary research study.”
By the way, I find it bizarre that AU would use the word lie to describe Beemer’s attendance estimate. How can you lie about a projected attendance figure?
Even though the state’s consultants acknowledged that Beemer’s 1.2 million minimum projection might be correct (did AU share that information in its article?), they suggested that their own attendance projection is much lower than ARG’s for reasons that included:
- In the ARG 2008 research, people were not told the park was owned by a Christian group.
- Americans surveyed in 2008 by ARG were not told the exact location of the Ark Encounter (halfway between Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky).
But for ARG’s new research, Britt’s ARG team specifically told people where the Ark would be located and that it would be built by a Christian group.
The projected first year attendance for the Ark has increased to a minimum of 1.4 million.
As a result of ARG’s follow-up research seven years after its first Ark attendance study, the projected first year attendance for the Ark has increased to a minimum of 1.4 million (up to 2.2 million people)! Now, this hopeful news must be anathema to the secularists who have been denigrating this project to state officials and the public.
When ARG asked Americans (non-Christians as well as Christians) the question, “Knowing the Ark was built by a non-profit Christian ministry, does that make you more or less inclined to visit?” the results were as follows:
- 59% of people said they would be more likely to attend
- 39% said it doesn’t matter to them
- 1% said they would be less likely to attend
In other words, because a Christian group is behind this park, attendance will be helped! From the other questions asked by ARG, it became obvious that if people knew that a Christian group would be providing a family-friendly attraction, they would feel comfortable visiting.
By the way, ARG’s new research also indicates that the number of visitors to the Creation Museum will increase by about 400,000 guests a year!1
Despite the efforts of secularist naysayers to undermine the Ark project and even with our struggles with state officials, ARG declares that the Ark Encounter is going to be one of the most successful tourist attractions in America.