What do the locals think?
There was “continued support” for the development of Hong Kong Disneyland from 71% of respondents, although that represented a 15% drop from last year.
There was little support, however, for the park’s pricing structure, with just 14% agreeing that the adult entry fee of HK$295/350 (off-peak/peak) “provides value for money.” Dr Ap noted that the median monthly income of survey respondents fell in the HK$8,000-9,999 range and so, at around HK$1,000, a typical family visit (two adults, two children) represents one-tenth of a month’s income.
Recent suggestions from the Hong Kong Government that it may provide more funding for the park were met with a lukewarm reception from residents, with just 16% in favour. Just 20% supported “the fairness of the deal with the Government,” which provided HK$13.6 billion for land reclamation and infrastructure to attract Walt Disney to Hong Kong. However, 48% did believe “the benefits of Hong Kong Disneyland outweighed the costs.”
In measuring residents’ current attitudes towards the park, 55% said, “opinions toward Hong Kong Disneyland have become more negative due to problems experienced since its opening.” Interestingly, exactly the same percentage felt the park received negative media coverage, suggesting there could be a connection between the two. The park’s PR department should note that 81% said they thought communication with the public could be improved.
In 2006, 54% of interviewees said they felt “most people would prefer to visit Disneyland rather than Ocean Park,” whereas in 2007 just 12% agreed. Yet it is inevitable, surely, that Disneyland’s popularity should wane after the hype surrounding its opening in 2005. Nevertheless, Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s own marine amusement park, has increased attendance since Disney arrived and with 4.92 million visitors in 2006/2007.
Just 24% of residents agreed that Hong Kong Disneyland is a “socially responsible company.” An enlightening statistic, and one which flaws much of the research, is the fact that little over half (54%) of those surveyed had actually visited the park, making their opinions on certain questions invalid.
“Knowing how the community perceives the benefits and costs of a major tourist attraction like Hong Kong Disneyland is essential to the development, viability and sustainability of this joint venture,” concludes Dr Ap. “With this survey information, the HK Government and Disneyland management can further address concerns and minimise its negative impacts – both actual and perceived.”
Dr Ap’s survey was compiled conducting interviews with 520 randomly selected Hong Kong residents. Full findings can be found via: www.researchsea.com