Dis­ney­land makeover

Hong Kong re­sort get­ting a facelift due for com­ple­tion in six years

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By OSWALD CHAN in Hong Kong oswald@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The Hong Kong govern­ment and Walt Dis­ney Co are em­bark­ing on a HK$10.9 bil­lion ($1.406 bil­lion) ex­pan­sion of the Hong Kong Dis­ney­land Re­sort (HKDL), with fea­tures that in­clude the world’s first Frozen and Marvel-themed fa­cil­i­ties to fend off fierce mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion since the Shang­hai Dis­ney­land opened in June this year.

The Frozen and Marvel the med fa­cil­i­ties are lo­cated at the Phase 1 site of HKDL where land for­ma­tion work has been com­pleted to en­able timely com­mence­ment of the ex­pan­sion works. The govern­ment will ex­plore the Phase 2 de­vel­op­ment of HKDL as its long-term de­vel­op­ment plan.

“(The ex­pan­sion) would at­tract more high-spend­ing and overnight vis­i­tors from more di­ver­si­fied mar­ket sources, hence ben­e­fit­ing tourism­re­lated in­dus­tries in Hong Kong, in line with fos­ter­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the tourism in­dus­try in a healthy, sus­tain­able and high val­ueadding man­ner,” Sec­re­tary for Com­merce and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Gre­gory So Kam-le­ung said at news con­fer­ence on Tues­day.

The ex­pan­sion and de­vel­op­ment plan will run from 2018 un­til 2023, and the to­tal num­ber of at­trac­tions will in­crease from about 110 to over 130 af­ter com­ple­tion. The plan will also trans­form the cur­rent Sleep­ing Beauty Cas­tle which is ex­pected to close to all vis­i­tors from next year un­til 2019.

Ac­cord­ing to the fi­nan­cial ar­range­ment, the govern­ment will in­ject HK$5.8 bil­lion as new cap­i­tal for the ex­pan­sion plan into Hongkong In­ter­na­tional Theme Parks Ltd, the op­er­a­tor of HKDL, based on the govern­ment’s 53 per­cent hold­ing in the joint ven­ture com­pany. The re­main­ing HK$5.1 bil­lion will be borne by WDC. The share­hold­ing ra­tio will re­main un­changed af­ter the cap­i­tal in­jec­tion.

The ex­pan­sion comes af­ter the park’s first de­scent into the red in five years and largescale lay­offs ear­lier this year. It lost a to­tal of HK$148 mil­lion last year af­ter three years of prof­itabil­ity, while the num­ber of vis­i­tors to the park dropped 9.3 per­cent.

Apart from the city’s tourism down­turn, which saw visitor num­bers dip 9.6 per­cent in the first 10 months of the year, HKDL is also fac­ing stiff com­pe­ti­tion from its main­land coun­ter­part.

Shang­hai Dis­ney­land — which opened in June — has been flooded with vis­i­tors. The main­land park is three times big­ger, but ticket prices are sim­i­lar to those charged by the Hong Kong park.

“Since the open­ing of Shang­hai Dis­ney­land, ac­tu­ally more tourists vis­ited HKDL be­cause of its unique po­si­tion­ing and at­trac­tions,” So said at the news con­fer­ence.

“Shang­hai Dis­ney­land helped to pro­mote the Dis­ney­land brand in Asia. To­gether with HKDL’s in­ter­na­tional fla­vor and govern­ment in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture, now it is the time to make long-term tourism fa­cil­i­ties in­vest­ment in Hong Kong,” noted Sa­muel Lau Wing-kee, ex­ec­u­tive vi­cepres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of HKDL.

REUTERS

Hong Kong Sec­re­tary for Com­merce and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Gre­gory So and Mickey Mouse and Min­nie Mouse char­ac­ters at­tend a pre­sen­ta­tion on Hong Kong Dis­ney­land’s re­sort ex­pan­sion and de­vel­op­ment plan in Hong Kong, on Wed­nes­day.

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