Disney looks to border open as results hurt

Top News | 18 May 2021

Sophie Hui

Hong Kong Disneyland incurred a loss of HK$2.66 billion for the fiscal year ending last September as attendance dropped to its lowest since it opened in 2005.

The Lantau Island theme park's latest net loss is 25 times the HK$105 million loss it recorded the previous fiscal year and marked the sixth consecutive year of it being in the red.

Revenue was HK$1.4 billion for the year, down 76 percent from HK$6 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Managing director Michael Moriarty said local attendance and annual pass membership in the first half of the year grew but it could not compensate for the loss of revenues with the park in lockdown for much of the year.

He said the park has been preserving jobs for its 7,000 cast members and has no plans to lay off employees or increase ticket prices.

The park had been closed for about 60 percent of the fiscal year due to the pandemic with the three hotels in the resort operating at adjusted levels of service.

Park attendance dropped 73 percent to 1.7 million in the previous year. Average hotel occupancy dropped by 59 percentage points to 15 percent. Among the visitors, 75 percent were locals, 8 percent were mainlanders, and 17 percent were from other places.

However, Moriarty said local attendance and annual pass membership in the first half of the year rose 46 percent per operating day and 57 percent, respectively.

Eight percent more people bought the park's annual pass membership.

"We couldn't be more grateful of how Hongkongers are supporting the park right now," he said.

Despite the growth in local attendance and annual pass membership, Moriarty said it has been "far from enough" to compensate for the drop in tourists since the park's strategy has always been about attracting visitors from the mainland and abroad.

"It's hard to imagine a more unprecedented time where the world has been on lockdown as a result of the pandemic, with arrivals into Hong Kong down 82 percent and our park being shut down. I think it's easy to see why it would be this low," he said.

"So what it takes right now, I think we need to stay open and we also need to open up the borders to tourists."

The park received a HK$2.1 billion revolving facility from the Walt Disney Co last year, which it drew on this fiscal year to support working capital and operational needs.

When asked if the resort will ask for additional funding from the SAR government, Moriarty said there are no plans to ask the Legislative Council for funding beyond the Walt Disney revolving facility.

He also said the park has been prudent and maximizing revenue opportunities from new food and merchandise channels like pop-up stores in Sha Tin and Causeway Bay, as well as its online sales platform.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com



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