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Disney ups intake for new year

Carrie Chan

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hong Kong Disneyland is set for a bumper Lunar New Year in February after being given the green light to increase its daily visitor intake from 28,000 to 34,000.

With additional seating areas and dining and supporting facilities, the theme park has won approval from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to expand its visitor capacity.

Managing director Bill Ernest said he was hopeful the festive mood would continue through Christmas and the New Year period to bolster ticket sales during the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 18.

It will be the second Lunar New Year since Hong Kong Disneyland opened, and is expected to be a litmus test for the park's new management team headed by Ernest.

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The last Lunar New Year saw chaotic scenes at the theme park as scores of mainland tourists tried to barge their way in by climbing over the fences at the main entrance after being denied entry due to confusion over the type of tickets issued to mainland travel agencies and sold to tourists.

The incident seriously tarnished the attraction's image abroad and in the mainland despite the park management's public apologies.

The new management said it has learned a lesson from the incident and taken "well-orchestrated" measures to prevent a repeat of the chaos during the coming Lunar New Year golden-week break. It said communication with mainland travel agents has been stepped up, and a sophisticated reservation ticketing system has been introduced, particularly for tour groups.

According to Glendy Chu Yee-lin, Hong Kong Disneyland's media relations director, a publicity campaign has been launched in major mainland cities to promote the new ticketing system and improve communication with major travel agencies.

"We're unable to estimate individual ticket sales at this stage, but close monitoring of tourist flow during the week-long peak period can help us adjust ticket sales at MTR stations and at our booths at the main entrance," Ernest said.


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