Hong Kong Disneyland faces a challenge in boosting visitor numbers after missing the target in the first decade of its operation.
The theme park, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend, has seen attendance figures fall short due to various reasons.
Cumulative visitor numbers over the past nine years amount to 51 million, which is 15 percent below the 60 million that was estimated by the Hong Kong government in 1999, Ming Pao Daily noted.
The attendance figures this year too are not encouraging, with visitors in July said to be down more than 8 percent compared to the same period last year.
Occupancy rate of two hotels in the park is also believed to be low.
Boosting the attendance figures will only get tougher as Shanghai will get its own Disney resort next year and some other Chinese cities are also planning new tourist attractions.
Executives however remain optimistic that the park will improve its performance in the coming years.
Andrew Kam Min-ho, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland, pointed out that the theme park helped develop the overall market in the city.
Attendance number at Ocean Park, Disneyland’s main competitor in the city, was only around 4 million before Disneyland started its operation. However, combined figures for the two local theme parks have now reached 15 million per year on average, Kam said.
While acknowledging that the current financial year will be a challenging one for his firm, Kam said he believes the performance will turn better when the overall tourist industry improves.
Meanwhile, he is eyeing the huge growth potential in visitors from East Asia.
The theme park will leverage popular movies produced by the Walt Disney Company and PIXAR Animation as part of efforts to boost its appeal.
It will adjust its strategy by developing more facilities and products with movies as themes. For example, the theme park has already built a “Frozen” village to attract new visitors.
Hong Kong government is the major shareholder of Hong Kong Disneyland, having invested about HK$24 billion in total through the years. Assistance included provision of land and infrastructure.
The theme park had turned profitable for the first time in 2012, seven years after it went into operation.
However, the profit was immediately funneled back into other ongoing expansion projects. The government hasn’t received a dime on its investment yet.