Hong Kong Disneyland has revealed a huge $170 million (HK$1.315 billion) loss for 2009, as management looks to an ambitious expansion project to turn its fortunes around.
The park's financial performance has improved since 2008, when it lost $203 million (HK$1.574 billion). However, it is still struggling to attract visitors from mainland China despite managing to increase annual attendance by 2% overall to 4.6 million.
Hong Kong Disneyland has performed below expectations since its opening in 2005, drawing unfavorable comparisons with Disneyland Paris - which has never rivalled the financial performance of the chain's U.S. parks. The Hong Kong Tourism Commission has pointed at the impact of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, which it claims at last partially accounts for the 2009 loss.
The park is looking to expand aggressively over the next few years in order to counter the expected competition from Shanghai Disneyland, which will open in 2014 at the earliest. Currently Disney's smallest park, it hopes to complete an ambitious plan to add three new themed lands by 2014. The Hong Kong government, which owns 57% of the park, hopes to increase annual attendance from 4.5 million to 8.4 million by 2015 following the expansion.
The expansion will increase the size of Hong Kong Disneyland by 20%, and includes new lands Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land (details of which can be found here). Grizzy Trail is expected to open in 2012, with the other two lands following in 2014. Disney is set to invest $452 million into the expansion, while the Hong Kong government will convert part of its initial loan to the park into equity.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions over at Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section.