The Applause Award is the theme- and amusement parks industry’s oldest and most prestigious award. The award’s aim is to recognise excellence and inspiration in the amusement and theme park industry. So far, 20 outstanding parks has received the award. The award was first presented in 1980, and has up until 2022 been presented bi-annually. From 2024, the award will presented annually.


The origins of the Applause Award is a somewhat unusual story. The idea was hatched in 1979 by Boo Kinntorph , then CEO of the relatively unknown Swedish amusement park Liseberg. The award was named the Liseberg Applause Award and was presented for the first time in 1980, in conjunction with the IAAPA Expo in New Orleans. The historic first winner of The Applause Award was Walt Disney Productions for Magic Kingdom. 

The statuette, made in bronze by prominent Swedish sculptor Astri Bergman Taube, depicted two applauding hands that came to symbolize the reverence and respect the industry colleagues showed the winners. 

The prize has ever since been presented every second year. In the beginning, most of the winners were from the USA, but in 1990 the North American dominance was broken when German Europa-Park entered the history books as the first European winner. 18 years later, it was time for the next continent to be included, when Xetulu in Guatemala was named winner in 2008, and in 2012 Ocean Park was the first Asian park to receive the award.


The Applause Award recognises excellence and inspiration in the amusement and theme park industry. In addition, there are five areas that will be judged individually and as a whole when selecting a winner:


for example demonstrated in the ability of the amusement park or theme park to forecast and plan for future trends, together with a track record of success in introducing new attractions, shows, accommodation or marketing activities in the market.

Sound business development...

demonstrated in management and HR practices, marketing and brand position in the market, operational systems, profitability and long-term growth, as well as a sustainable pattern of repeat visitors over multiple years.


demonstrated in uniqueness of theme in landscaping, shows and attractions, innovation in park planning and design, as well as creativity in the design and selection of attractions, shows and accommodation.

Park condition...

demonstrated in cleanliness of the park, friendliness of the staff, maintenance of park walkways, hardscape, structures and attractions, as well as landscaping.


demonstrated through involvement with the local community, sharing of knowledge with industry colleagues, sustainability ambitions and programs as well as investment in employees.

All nominees should be IAAPA members in good standing.




If you want to nominate a facility, amusement or theme park, please send in a nominating letter, in which you describe how the facility meets the award criteria. This nominating letter can for example include financial information, organisational characteristics, business philosophy, strategy, visitor and market demographics, as well as operating information.

Send your nominating letter to [email protected].


The Liseberg Applause Award is governed by a Board of Governors, representing considerable industry experience as well as a good balance in location, facility size, professions and industry segments:

Andreas Andersen - Chairman Liseberg AB   Tim O´Brien - Author & Journalist   John Wood - Sally Corp.
Chris Herschend Herschend - Family Entertainment   Jim Pattison Jr - Ripley Entertainment   Michael Mack -  Europa-Park
  Sascha N. Czibulka - INTAMIN   Amanda Thompson Blackpool Pleasure Beach  
Tina Resch - Liseberg AB
  Cale Heit - FORREC Ltd.   Jakob Wahl - IAAPA    


The Liseberg Applause Award recognises excellence and inspiration in the amusement and theme park industry worldwide. It is often referred to as the most prestigious award of our industry. It is symbolised by a limited edition of a bronze sculpture commissioned by Liseberg and created by renowned Swedish sculptor Astri Bergman Taube. The award was first presented in 1980.

Applause Awards Winner 2024

Siam Park, Tenerife, Spain

Previous winners include:

1980 Magic Kingdom

1982 Opryland

1986 Epcot Center

1988 Knott’s Berry Farm

1990 Europa Park

1992 Efteling

1994 Universal Studios, Florida

1996 Cedar Point

1998 Silver Dollar City

2000 Hershey Park

2002 Busch Gardens, Williamsburg

2004 Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

2006 Universal’s Islands of Adventure

2008 Xetulul, Guatemala

2010 Dollywood

2012 Ocean Park

2014 Le Puy Du Fou

2016 Busch Gardens, Tampa

2018 Xcaret Park, Mexico

2022 Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

2024 Siam Park, Tenerife, Spain

Liseberg AB
Visiting adress: Sofierogatan 5
Box 5085, SE-402 22 Gothenburg, Sweden
Phone: +46 31-400 100
E-mail: [email protected]
Liseberg -