Shanghai Disney opened with a lot of hype, but the number of visitors fell short of the expectations. The entertainment park is not yet where it wants to be, says business analyst Shaun Rein, although it might still bounce back from its current under-performance, he tells the South China Morning Post.
The South China Morning Post:
Visitor stories so far, widely aired on social media, have also focussed on the 3-4 hour wait for some rides, or attractions shut down early, due to maintenance or overcrowding.
Despite making the experience as Chinese as possible – including Mickey Mouse-shaped braised pig knuckle, Peking Duck pizza, and a Chinese zodiac-inspired garden of Disney characters – Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group said Disney made a “big mistake” in not better handling long queues, which generated negative word of mouth and have forced consumers to adopt a “wait-and-see attitude”.
“There’s still pretty good demand, but people [appear to] want to wait six months, 12 months, and even longer until the issues are ironed out,” he said.
A BNP Paribas report agrees that the negative press on long waits may be why foreigners, too, are have been hesitant to visit “for the time being”.
But this early performance of arguably China’s most high-profile tourist opening to-date could also prove an ominous reflection of just how hard the industry has reacted to a slowdown in income growth and weakened consumer confidence.
“Consumers are really double-checking, and triple-checking where they visit. They really want to get the best value,” said Rein.
He says outbound travel and tourism is 16 times the value compared with a decade ago, but Chinese buyers are now trending away from expensive places such as Europe, and towards “exotic and cheap” places in Southeast Asia, and domestic wilderness locations such as Yunan, Guilin, Qinghai, and Gansu.
“Domestic tourism is still hot, but Shanghai is not,” he said…
Rein said Chinese tourism will continue to grow, but people are changing where they want to go, so companies “need to be very agile in what they offer.”
“But Disney will bounce [back], Disney is fine,” he said.
Are you interested in more stories by Shaun Rein? Do check out this list.