Hong Kong Disneyland Resort has announced a financial deficit of HK$345 million for the most recent fiscal year.

The theme park on Lantau Island is 53 per cent owned by the government and the rest is owned by The Walt Disney Company. It has been losing money for three years in a row, up until the fiscal year ending last September 30. It lost HK$148 million and HK$171 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Samuel Lau, managing director of the resort, said the loss was owing to a depreciation of assets, the opening of new facilities last year, and the park’s expansion.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland. Photo: Hong Kong Disneyland.

New facilities included the Iron Man Experience, and the resort’s third hotel – the 750-room Disney Explorers Lodge. General hotel occupancy at the park was close to 70 per cent during the fiscal year.

The resort’s castle also stopped its daily fireworks display on January 1, as expansion works are set to continue until 2019.

Despite the loss, the park saw a 3 per cent year-over-year rise in attendance to 6.2 million people for 2017.  It included a five per cent increase in international attendance to reach a record high of around 1.6 million international guests.

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Locals made up the largest group of visitors at 41 per cent, while mainland and international guests accounted for 34 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. Local attendance grew six per cent to its second highest level ever.

The rise in attendance contributed to an eight per cent rise in revenue year-on-year to HK$5.1 billion.

The resort employed more than 5,000 full-time and 2,000 part-time cast members on average during the year.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland. Photo: Hong Kong Disneyland.

The Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest of Disney’s international theme parks. It faces a challenge from Shanghai Disneyland, opened in June 2016, which attracted more than 10 million visitors in its first year.

Lau said the resort will form a working group to look into attracting visitors as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will be operational soon.

The resort was opened in 2005 but only turned a profit in 2012. The trend continued for two years until it began making a loss again in 2015.

The resort increased its entrance fee at the beginning of 2018, the fifth year in a row since 2013. The standard ticket was increased five per cent to HK$619, and the children ticket was increased nine per cent to HK$458.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.