Disney theme park: Hong Kong opposition raise queries

MUMBAI: Disney has not yet opened its theme park in Hong Kong but already that country's legislators have started asking awkward questions. Hong Kong Disneyland is due to open on 12 September 2005.


The lawmakers are questioning the Hong Kong government's decision to give Hong Kong Disneyland a 20-year option to buy an adjacent site for expansion. Their stance is that other theme parks ought to be given a chance to get the land. The commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng said that the government would like to hold talks with Disneyland soon about exercising the option.

Last year Financial Secretary Henry Tang had said that the government approached three other US theme park companies about coming to Hong Kong -- Six Flags, Universal and Warner Bros. Disney is understadably nervous. After all it might never have agreed to open its park on Lantau Island if it had known that there was the chance that a competitor might set up shop next door. Disney's first-bid rights on the site last until 2019, and can be extended longer if the park draws in more then 8 million people.

Opposition lawmaker Sin Chung-kai was quoted in media reports saying, "From Hong Kong's standpoint, it doesn't necessarily have to be Disneyland. Other than Disneyland there are many other theme parks popular in the world"



The 125-hectare (310-acre) Hong Kong Disneyland is a joint venture between Disney and the Hong Kong government. However local taxpayers are footing most of its US$3.5 billion (euro2.6 million) price tag. Critics have therefore questioned whether Hong Kong got a good deal.

The government will test the park and its transportation infrastructure ahead of the scheduled opening by inviting tour operators and Hong Kong residents to visit.


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