There’s plenty of room for two Disneylands

The opening of another theme park on the mainland does not necessarily spell the demise of Hong Kong’s one

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 February, 2016, 12:43am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 February, 2016, 12:45am

Hong Kong frets about competition of all sorts, whether it be to its position as a top tourism destination or as a world-class financial centre. Adding to the long list of worries is the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in June. Not only is it bigger, but it also boasts the biggest castle and the longest parade route among the six Disney theme parks. Shanghai’s park is set to outshine its elder brother in Hong Kong.

With roughly half of its revenues coming from mainland tourists, the competition facing Hong Kong Disneyland cannot be ignored.

The new park expects to attract up to 30 million visitors a year ultimately, comparing to our 7.5 million at present. Some Disney fans from the north have already begun wondering why they should bother travelling to Hong Kong when there is one at the door. Commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung also conceded that the Lantau theme park would be affected.

But being bigger and closer does not necessarily mean better. As we reported earlier, some tourists in Hong Kong see each Disneyland visit as a unique experience. They are also impressed by the city’s infrastructure and tourism facilities.

Even before the opening of Shanghai Disneyland, theme parks in Hong Kong were facing growing competition. For instance, the Chimelong theme parks in Guangzhou and Zhuhai (珠海), which feature safaris, amusement rides, circuses and other entertainment, are already drawing visitors in the region.

Healthy competition brings out the best in businesses. This can be reflected in the improvements in the performance of Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland over the years.

The opening of another theme park on the mainland does not necessarily spell the demise of Hong Kong’s one. It gives us the opportunity to review our strengths and weaknesses.

If the Shanghai park defines itself as “authentically Disney, yet distinctively Chinese”, Hong Kong Disneyland can stand out as China’s first Magic Kingdom with international appeal.