Ticket sales poor on the mainland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am

Ticket sales for Disneyland are poor on the mainland, with visitors put off by the prospect of long queues in the park and high hotel rates, travel agents say.

None of the peak days are full, with the online ticket booking system showing tickets available throughout this month and next, except for the grand opening day on Monday.

There are also still vacancies for both months, except for opening day, at the two Disneyland hotels, which together have 1,000 rooms, a spokeswoman for the theme park said. She described ticket sales as 'satisfactory'.

But Huang Feiyueh, executive director of Amsito Travel Service - a cross-border tour operator catering for more than 15,000 mainland tourists a month - said Disney ticket sales were bad, particularly in Shanghai.

'We only managed to sell roughly 300 tickets during the first week after the park opens,' Mr Huang said. 'To mainland tourists, Disneyland is just the same as Ocean Park. They won't visit Hong Kong just for Disneyland.'

He also predicted there would be fewer mainlanders visiting Hong Kong in September after the theme park opened, because of inflated hotel rates.

'Hotel rates are 30 to 40 per cent higher after September 10, compared with the same time last year, thanks to the Disneyland. We are driving mainland tourists away.'

The chairman of the Inbound Travel Association, Paul Leung Yiu-lam, said ticket sales in Guangdong and Southeast Asia were worse than expected.

He said tourists were deterred by the length of time they would have to stay in Disneyland because of long queuing times.

'Currently, Disneyland trips are offered as a whole-day activity because visitors have to spend considerable time waiting,' Mr Leung said. 'It is unattractive to tourists because it means they have to either give up a day of shopping and sight-seeing, or add an extra day to their Hong Kong trip, which is expensive.'

He urged the theme park to divide opening hours into sessions so as to streamline visitors and reduce queuing times.

'If no more than 15,000 visitors are allowed in each time slot, the park visit could be reduced to three or four hours,' Mr Leung said.

A poll conducted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong indicated that more than a third of the 431 respondents who visited Disneyland on a rehearsal day did not think it was worth revisiting.