Hong Kong Disneyland breaks ground on expansion project

08:17, December 14, 2009      

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Senior officials and executives broke ground on the planned expansion project of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on Sunday.

The ceremony on Sunday marked the beginning of construction of three themed areas, which had been agreed upon by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and the Walt Disney Company earlier this year.

The expansion, expected to be completed by 2014, will include three themed areas, namely, the Grizzly Gulch, the Mystic Point and the Toy Story Land, said Andrew Kam, managing director of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

Kam said the Toy Story Land will be inaugurated in two or three years, while the other two "will be completed as soon as possible."

The Grizzly Gulch and the Mystic Point will be "exclusive for the five years after their openings", and the Toy Story Land will be exclusive in Asia.

"The expansion will enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness in the tourism sector," Kam said at the ceremony, adding that he expected attendance to continue improve as more visitors come to Hong Kong in future.

A joint venture between the HKSAR government and the Walt Disney Company, Hong Kong Disneyland has attracted 19 million visitors since its opening in September 2005. It is still the smallest among the Disney theme parks around the world.

John Tsang, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government, said the Hong Kong Disneyland is an important component of Hong Kong's tourism infrastructure.

"A larger park with more attractions will continue to draw the crowds," he said.

Tsang was one of the HKSAR government officials officiating the ceremony on Sunday together with senior executives of the Walt Disney Company, including Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

The HKSAR government and Walt Disney agreed earlier this year on adding the three new themed areas to expand the park by 23 percent, just months ahead of the announcement that the company and the Shanghai government planned to build a Disneyland in Shanghai.

Bill Ernest, president and managing director Asia, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said he believed the two Disney theme parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai will compliment rather than compete against each other.

"We think there is plenty of room. We think there is plenty of business there that supports both parks," he said.

Source:Xinhua
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