Hong Kong's Disneyland and Phuket's Need for Attractions
The troubled Hong Kong Disneyland venture between the SAR Government and Walt Disney has announced plans to shelves the expansion of the park indefinitely. Disneyland has recorded over 4 million visitors a year while projections targeted in excess of 5 million. Hong Kong's Ocean Park has continued to win the battle with the mouse under the stewardship of Allan Zeman; and plans announced last year for a Disney's venture to the mainland in Shanghai have clouded future prospects.
Within Phuket the only scaled mass venture currently is FantaSea in Kamala. Two water parks are under development, one at West Sands in Mai Khao and the other in Kathu. Viewing the growing hotel inventory together with ongoing expectations that a broader mass tourism market will rely on travelers from China and India is likely. As we see greater numbers of Asian visitors there are different demand generators aside from only beaches, and international standard attractions are needed to fill the growing number of mid market hotels on the island.
With that in hand the experiences of Hong Kong, which relies primarily on international visitors to fill its attractions and access mainly by air, provide a lesson on scale for Phuket. Moving tourism numbers, which hit a high-water mark in 2007 at just over 5 million up, requires healthy segmentation and there remains a question mark if this type of shift will be advantageous to long-term growth. That given the hotel pipeline for the next 3 years is dominated by an increase in mid market hotels which focus more on lower budgeted Europeans and also regional visitors from Asia. To sum it up best, they are building it, though will have to create enough reasons for them to come.