- Title: The world’s smallest Disneyland gets an expansion
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: HONG KONG, CHINA (FILE - JUNE 10, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HONG KONG DISNEYLAND'S SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE SIGN SAYING 10TH ANNIVERSARY
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 11:19
- Keywords: China Hong Kong Disneyland expansion
- Location: HONG KONG, CHINA
- City: HONG KONG, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00959IZOGD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Walt Disney Company will expand its loss-making Hong Kong Disneyland park in a $1.4 billion investment drive to rekindle growth, the U.S. entertainment giant and its local government partner said on Tuesday (November 22).
The park will add new themed areas featuring Frozen and Marvel - attractions that it hopes can help differentiate it from its other parks around the world, including a Shanghai Disneyland which opened its gates in June this year.
The Hong Kong resort also faces competition from other theme park operators fighting for mainland Chinese visitors, including Dalian Wanda, which plans to spend billions of dollars to launch at least 20 tourism parks in China.
Hong Kong's retail and tourism industries have also been suffering. The city saw a 6.1 percent decrease in the number of tourists in the first nine months this year, including a bigger drop from mainland China, according to official tourist board data.
"It will add an additional 38.5 billion to 41.6 billion (Hong Kong dollars) of economic benefit to Hong Kong. So this, in view of these figures, it is very very positive for Hong Kong, for the employment opportunity that it will create - doing construction will be 3500, and afterward it will be 600 and for Hong Kong as a whole that will generate 5000 employment opportunities. So these figures speak for itself," Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Gregory So told reporters.
Hong Kong Disneyland rejected the idea that Shanghai's Disney theme park had been taking its customers.
"Shanghai (Disneyland) actually helps increase the brand of Disney in Asia and Hong Kong is unique, we differentiate our parks differently. We have more of an international flavour. A lot of our guest if you go out to the park today, we have guests from all over the different parts of the world. Different languages, and so we're very unique in that way," Samuel Lau, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland said.
The Hong Kong government, which owns a 53 percent stake in the theme park, will chip in $750 million, while Disney will pay approximately $650 million for the expansion running from 2018 to 2023.
The park's iconic Sleeping Beauty castle will be closed for roughly two years during the construction.
"I think we need to quickly, you know, double up to make sure that we invest in tourism in the long run. Some of these projects will take time to build and create, and now is the time. Now is the time to grow, the park, the assets, so that we have an attractive offering when the market takes off," Lau said.
Hong Kong Disneyland, the firm's smallest park, has been hit by weak local retail and tourism markets. It recorded its first loss in four years in 2015 and cut staff in the spring.
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