Euro Disney’s magic returns as it forecasts full recovery by 2021
THEME park operator Euro Disney has forecast that it is on track to make a full recovery by 2021 following the terrorist attacks in France over the past two years.
It is the magic touch that the resort on the outskirts of Paris is looking for as a big year comes to a close. In March it celebrated its 25th anniversary and three months later media giant the Walt Disney Company took full ownership of what is Europe’s most popular tourist attraction in a €2-a-share offer.
Some 49pc of the park’s visitors come from France, followed by Britain, which provided 17pc of the total. However, attendance is down from a peak of 16m in 2012 to 13.4m last year, down 9.5pc on 2015, due to the cloud over the tourism industry in France. In turn, revenue for the year ending Sept 30 2016 dropped 7pc to €1.3bn (£1.2bn) while costs rose 5pc, driven by investment ahead of the anniversary and rising salaries and security costs. It left it with an underlying loss of €34m but the clouds are starting to clear.
In the six months to March 31 2017 attendance rose 5pc on the same period the previous year with revenue increasing €19m to €623m and occupancy up three percentage points to 81pc. Documents filed in connection with the takeover state that “the full recovery following November 2015 events in Paris (in terms of volumes and revenues) is expected by FY2021”.
It has got off to a strong start as Disney is backing a €1.5bn share recapitalisation and will use the majority of the proceeds to repay debt. Euro Disney’s classic attractions such as its Star Wars simulator have been updated for its birthday, while the site plans next year to premiere performances by comic book characters such as Spider-Man and Iron Man from Marvel Entertainment, which was acquired by Disney for $4bn in 2009.
“The 25th anniversary clearly is resonating,” says Peter Welch, VP of marketing and sales for Disneyland Paris in the UK and Ireland. “There’s the investment in the shows, the parade and, like any business, it’s probably not one factor. When the stars are aligned you get a momentum and we definitely have that with the UK market.”
Testimony to this, Euro Disney’s half year results state that the boost in attendance was due to more guests visiting from the UK and France, partially offset by fewer from Belgium.
Brexit could even play into Euro Disney’s hands as it buys more from UK firms than those in any country outside France, accounting for 30pc of its annual €77.5m spending on suppliers.
Disneyland Paris marked its 25th anniversary this year