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Mickey's Rainy Anniversary in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland celebrated its anniversary Tuesday in the rain and a much cooler atmosphere, comparing with the sunny and grand opening one year ago.


The sunny opening and the rainy anniversary are perhaps the very reflection of Mickey's experience in its first year in Hong Kong, which is rosy at the beginning but turns out to be more or less disappointing.


As the major investor of Hong Kong Disneyland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government invested 29 billion HK dollars into the park and holds 57 percent of the shares. It hopes that the world famous theme park can bring the city multi-financial benefits and change it into a most desirable visiting destination.


The dream gradually turns into bubbles with less-than-expected visitors, admission chaos during last Spring Festival, failure to inspire the hotel market and offer enormous jobs within the tourism industry.


Bill Ernest, managing director of the park in Hong Kong, admitted a week before the anniversary that the visitors figure can not reach the target of 5.6 million in its first year, though it has exceeded 5 million. He said the park can eventually realize its target in late September or in early October.


Susan Chan, the publicity director, acknowledged that Chinese mainland tourists may not know the culture of Disneyland and the park plan to strengthen its promotion in the Chinese mainland including some educational programs.


Meanwhile, a Hong Kong government tourism official attending the anniversary told reporters, "Visitors figure only partly reflects the performance of the park in the past year. We should look at the performance in a longer term."


"The park does make its contribution to the increase of family tourism. Comparing with the same period last year before the park's opening, figures in family tourism went up 40 percent," she added.


However, the park refused to make any estimation in visitor's figure for the next year, saying they will try to do better after learning the lesson in its first year.


The park admitted it will consider offering year pass after its summer pass promotion received a positive result. Besides, it plans to increase more games during next year, including the classic Disney entertainment of "Small World".


Some tourists admitted that it is better to have a Disneyland park near to them than without and they have fun in the park though Hong Kong Disneyland is the world's smallest.


(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2006)


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