HK Disney Attracts 5M

Hong Kong Disneyland wrapped up its first year of business short of its target attendance figure of 5.6 million visitors. The new park managed to attract about 5 million, one-third of which came from mainland China.

The theme park has been plagued by problems and controversies for the past year, including a lockout of angry ticket holders last New Year’s and well-publicized complaints by staff who accused management of mistreatment and paying low wages.

One cultural problem seems to be that Chinese are not as interested in amusement park rides as Americans and Japanese are.

Another problem may be unexpected competition from Ocean Park, a local 30-year-old Sea World-like attraction that is having one of its best years ever.

Forbes Magazine ranked it the seventh most popular theme park in the world in 2005.

Though it is not considered a direct competitor with Hong Kong Disneyland, the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council estimates that 80 percent of tourists from the mainland visit Ocean Park as part of their itineraries, which don’t necessarily include stops at Disneyland.

– Philip Brasor