Hong Kong Disney Counting on Summer Season
Hong Kong Disneyland is counting on the peak summer season and more aggressive marketing in Chinese cities to help make up for the theme park's lagging attendance, the managing director said Thursday.
Bill Ernest said crowd figures at Disney's latest park have been "slightly behind forecast" since opening in September, but visitor numbers during its first summer season will be crucial for the park's goal of attracting 5.6 million visitors a year.
"I think 5.6 (million) is still our target," Ernest said in an interview with government broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong. "It's still what we're striving for this year.
"A lot depends on summer … July and August are two of the key months typically and I'm hoping they're busy for us here as well," he said.
The park is stepping up its marketing campaign to build up brand awareness in mainland China — a challenging market where many did not grow up with Disney characters and cartoons, Ernest said.
The focus will be on emerging cities outside of Shanghai and Beijing, such as Tianjin in the Northeast and Nanjing in the East, he said.
The park is also hoping to draw in more mainland Chinese visitors by using simplified Chinese characters — used in the mainland but not in Hong Kong — on its maps and subtitles for shows, he said.
Three new attractions will open at the Hong Kong theme park in July as part of its expansion plan.
The additions are the Autopia electric car ride, UFO Zone and Stitch Encounter, inspired by the Disney character Stitch from Lilo & Stitch.