Disneyland is feeling the pinch of a mainland China-led tourism downturn and a strong Hong Kong dollar as it lost HK$148 million last year compared with its HK$332 million profit a
Total visitor numbers to Hong Kong Disneyland were down 9.3 per cent to 6.8 million in the fiscal year ending in October last year compared to the previous year. The slide returned the company to a performance level it notched three years ago.
Revenue also fell 6.4 per cent to HK$5.11 billion, the park’s first year-on-year decline since it started to release financial figures in 2009.
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“This year will be difficult,” said Andrew Kam, Hong Kong Disneyland’s managing director. But Kam expressed confidence “because we have new features coming in”.
The park’s hotel occupancy rate dropped sharply last year to 79 per cent, a marked decline from 93 per cent in 2014.
Mainland tourist figures plunged nearly a quarter last year – 23 per cent – and only accounted for 41 per cent of total visitors. At their peak, between 2012 and 2013, mainland tourists comprised around half of the park’s guests.
Aside from the local economic slowdown, Hong Kong Disneyland expected to face stiff competition for tourism dollars from Shanghai Disneyland Park after the latter’s unveiling in June this year. The new park was scheduled to be three times the size of its Hong Kong counterpart.
Tickets in Shanghai were to be priced similarly to Hong Kong, with adult tickets being more expensive than in Hong Kong during peak times, such as weekends and holidays. At other times, however, ticket prices in Shanghai were to be cheaper.
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In anticipation of the competition, Hong Kong Disneyland planned to offer discounted entrance fees and hotel room rates, Kam said. For one deal, a one-day ticket would cost about 400 yuan and include a free lunch, and hotel rooms rates would be discounted as low as 30 per cent off.
“Our offers are competitive,” he said. “Our promotional strategies will pay off.”
The number of visitors to Hong Kong declined 2.5 per cent last year compared with 2014, the first drop since 2004, with tourists from the mainland and overseas down 2.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.
Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s other theme park, also reported disappointing figures, with profits cut in half. For the fiscal year that ended in June last year, its profit was just HK$45.2 million, a 53 per cent retreat, while revenue slightly declined to HK$1.97 billion, off HK$600,000 compared to last year.