Hong Kong’s tourism chief has urged lawmakers to have faith in Hong Kong Disneyland due to its positive impact on local community and youth development, despite lawmakers urge the city to stop subsidising the loss-making theme park.
This comes as Hong Kong Disneyland has failed to make a profit for eight consecutive years due to the covid restrictions during the pandemic. It only operated for 190 days between October 2021 and September 2022.
The city's culture and tourism minister Kevin Yeung said at a Legco panel meeting on 22 May that, Hong Kong Disneyland’s financial situation had improved in recent years with net loss narrowed to HK$2.1 billion in 2022, a 12% drop from the year before. Residents helped keep the park afloat during the pandemic by lifting turnout to 3.4 million in the 2021-22 financial year, an increase of 22% from the previous one, while revenue rose 31% to HK$2.2 billion.
Lawmaker Andrew Lam cited the theme park had only recorded profits for three years since it opened in 2005. He questioned whether the government subsidies should be continued while its financial reserves are shrinking.
In response, Yeung said Hong Kong Disneyland contributed HK$116.1 billion to Hong Kong’s economy since its launch, which is about 0.3% of the city’s gross domestic product. The park also provides lots of employment opportunities for young people.
“As an investor and shareholder of Disneyland, the government will not force it to make a certain amount of money every year. We can’t just look at the overall profit or loss of the park. We should also examine its positive effects on Hong Kong’s economy, youth and art development.”
Yeung added that the authorities would work with Disneyland and promote it alongside other tourism brands such as Ocean Park, to offer more choices to visitors.
Michael Moriarty, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, added that the number of mainland tourists returned to the pre-pandemic level during the Labour Day "golden week" holiday. While the park is operating five to six days a week currently, the opening days will be increased to six to seven days from June.
Moriarty added that Hong Kong Disneyland has hired 300 people back in February and promised to bring in more than 1,000 cast members for World of Frozen, a Frozen-themed attraction set to launch in November.
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