Disney Reaches Shanghai

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The announcement that a new Disneyworld would be built in Shanghai in China shows once again how tourism can be created from nothing. The last Disneyworld was opened in Hong Kong on reclaimed land in 2005. From that “nothing,” developed a resort that has seen over 15 million people visit it. It all shows that you don’t need scenery, history, beaches or sunshine to attract visitors. A good idea and imagination does just as well.

It has taken a long while for Disney to get permission, ten years some say, and it could be due to the fact that the Hong Kong Disneyland hasn’t quite delivered the numbers- only 4.5 million a year- that the Chinese government hoped for. Shanghai won’t open until 2014  and will cost more than a pretty penny to develop. But over time, it will have created a visitor attraction, employment and economic generation where there was none before.

Visitors will probably come from within China or neighbouring countries where Shanghai is their nearest Disney resort. Those closer to Hong Kong will probably go there ( although it is smaller) and the Japanese will still go to their own resort in Tokyo. So it probably won’t attract as many overseas visits as, say, the Paris Disney does. Does that matter in a nation of billions? Probably not. It just means that the overseas visitor will concentrate on the heritage, the sites and what makes Chinese different because why should they visit Disneyworld? They will have seen one closer to where they live.  But if Disney can add something that makes Shanghai Disney different, something that adds a Chinese feel so that I don’t feel as though I am in any old Disney resort, then I could be interested.

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