Hit by mandatory closures through 40% of 2020-21, the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park and resort trimmed its losses to HK$2.4 billion ($308 million), management reported on Monday.
The park and its hotels operate a financial year that runs from October to September and reported the figures nearly six months in arrears. The park and hotels are currently closed, following yet another government order in early January 2022.
Earlier Monday, the city government indicated that the current travel restrictions and quarantine requirements may be reduced from early April. Social distancing measures may then be reduced in phases from April 21, something that could allow entertainment facilities such as cinemas and theme parks to reopen from that date.
Separately, the Hong Kong Tourism Board on Monday forecast that visitor numbers this calendar year could reach 9.8 million. That compared with the fewer than 92,000 who arrived in all of 2021, of which almost none were traveling for leisure.
For the year to September 2021, Hong Kong Disneyland theme park admissions climbed by 64% to 2.8 million, leading gross revenues to increase by 19% to HK$1.7 million ($218 million). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the 2020-21 year improved by 34% to a HK$970 million ($124 million) loss. Net losses including debt servicing improved by 12% to HK$2.4 billion.
In the previous year (Oct 2019-Sept 2020), the theme park was closed for 60% of the period, while the hotels remained open longer. The resort reported 1.8 million visitors, revenues of $185 million and net losses of $341 million ($2.61 billion).
Hong Kong’s ultra-strict border controls meant that even when the park was open inbound tourist have not been able to travel. In pre-COVID years, the park managed to attract large numbers of mainland Chinese and other Asian visitors.
The closures meant an increased dependence on local visitors and in this area the company claimed significant success. “The resort’s local attendance grew by 117% year-on-year, while the Magic Access (annual pass) membership base expanded by 55% year-on-year, both at record highs. Local young adult attendance also hit a record high, and the number of student Magic Access membership jumped 132% from FY20,” HKDL said in a statement.
The resort’s MD, Michael Moriarty said: “I’m extremely optimistic about this financial year once we are able to open up.”
Hong Kong Disneyland is 53% owned by the Hong Kong Government, with The Walt Disney Company holding the remaining 47% stake. Disney has provided the company with a HK$2.1 billion ($270 million) revolving loan. Moriarty said that he does not expect to seek additional funding.
The separately owned Shanghai Disneyland announced on Monday that it was closing until further notice due to mainland China’s growing COVID wave.