Disney disputes reports of slow start for HK park
LOS ANGELES, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday said Hong Kong Disneyland was on track to meet its long-term attendance goals, saying Chinese media reports of a slower-than-expected start for the resort were overblown.
Disney said the Hong Kong resort had drawn over 1 million guests since its opening in September.
The park, which was jointly developed with the Hong Kong government, had been expected to draw some 5.6 million visitors in its first year, with a third of those visitors coming from mainland China.
In a statement, Disney said Chinese media reports had unfairly characterized the performance of the park in the 100 days since the company launched the resort, its first destination in China and second in Asia after Japan.
"When we build a resort, we do so with the expectation that it's a long-term asset lasting well beyond 50 years," Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo said in a statement. "The bottom-line is this: attendance is ramping up well, which continues to give us confidence that we are on track to achieve our long-term attendance goals."
Rasulo said "average daily attendance" numbers reported in the media had "resulted in misleading and faulty conclusions" about the park's performance.
Disney said that Hong Kong residents had made up 49 percent of the park's visitors to date, with 26 percent from mainland China.
The company said it had hired and trained 5,000 employees for the theme park with a retention rate of 94 percent, higher than for its other resorts.