H.K. Disneyland ops 'not satisfactory'

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HONG KONG -- Hong Kong Disneyland has fallen short of the original expectations the government projected for its first two years of opening, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma said in a Legco meeting discussing the economic benefits of the park Wednesday.

"The first two years of Hong Kong Disneyland's operation was not satisfactory, and the park is still taking time to adapt to the local operational environment. We note that the attendance of the park did not meet the projected attendance under the base case scenario in its second year of operation," Ma said.

Disney declined comment on attendance figures to the park but said that according to a Hong Kong Tourism Board survey in 2006, the park is one of the leading paid attractions in the city and captures 29% of overnight vacation arrivals.

The original projected figures, announced by the local government in 1999 in a report assessing the economic viability of the park, estimated an attendance of 4.1 million-5.2 million in the first year of operation, with a rise to 5.47 million in 2006 and 10.57 million by 2044, with a net economic benefit of HK$80 billion-HK$148 billion ($10 billion-$19 billion) over a 40-year period.

Ma added that the park has brought other nonquantifiable benefits to Hong Kong, including increasing its international image as a cosmopolitan city and tourist destinations, as well as being one of Hong Kong's largest employers of entertainment staff.
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