The chief executive of Merlin Entertainments said global leisure spend will continue to grow as long as disposable incomes rise, as he announced record visitor numbers and revenue growth.

The group reported organic revenue growth of 5.2% in its latest results for 2018 and welcomed 67 million visitors in 2018, up 1.4% on 2017 to its attractions – which include Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland parks and Sea Life parks.

Resort theme parks revenue grew by around 9.1% with the group noting a particularly strong boost during the Halloween period when the resorts run seasonal events.

Chief executive Nick Varney said: “Around the world, leisure spend continues to grow as disposable incomes rise.

He added: “2018 saw improved momentum across most of our businesses. Resort theme parks benefited from successful product investment such as Wicker Man at Alton Towers. Legoland Parks growth was driven by record levels of accommodation openings, and in addition to the contribution of seven new attractions, Midway saw improving trends in London.”

The group recently launched two Midway brands; Peppa Pig World of Play and The Bear Grylls Adventure. It is continuing progress towards the construction of Legoland New York set to open in 2020 as well as a Legoland in Korea by 2022.

Varney added: “Our continued investment, new market opportunities and our evolving position as a unique, multi-format international operator of strongly branded and IP-led location based entertainment, give us the confidence that we are well placed to deliver long term growth and returns.”

Major 2019 investments for Merlin includes Lego Movie World at Legoland Florida, the Colossos roller coaster at Heide Park and Day and Night on the Reef at Sea Life Aquarium Sydney.

Merlin is also adding 372 new rooms to its resort hotels in 2019 including the Magic Hotel at Gardaland in May and Stargazing Pods at Alton Towers in April.