Shanghai Disneyland not a threat to Macau tourism market

The opening of Shanghai Disneyland will have a minimum impact on Macau’s tourism market, says the president of Macau Travel Industry Council.

The industry insider made the comments to Macau Business Daily, which added that the US$5.5 billion theme park is set to officially open on Thursday.

Earlier this year, about 30,000 people traveled to the Disney park on the second day of a test run.

Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of Macau Travel Industry Council, said the new theme park will not necessarily mean fewer tourist arrivals in Macau. “I don’t think after the Mainland Chinese have visited the new Shanghai Disneyland, they will stop coming to Macau,” said Wu. “Macau has its unique charm. Also people tend to visit theme parks over the weekends but they [Chinese tourists] will still use short-term holidays to visit the SARs.”

With the focus now on non-gaming attractions in Macau, a number of operators are also looking to build theme parks in the region, which still lacks a diverse abundance of non-gaming amenities.

While theme parks are expected to lure more mass-market customers to operators’ properties, which would be a welcome addition given VIP headwinds, industry analysts have said the theme parks shouldn’t be a priority in Macau just yet,  “Theme parks are not the best use of space,” said CLSA analyst Aaron Fischer in May. “We still believe there is a massive shortage of hotel rooms so we would like to see a lot of the available land dedicated to hotel rooms – across a wide range of price points. We would like to see one more arena being added as we do believe there is potential to bring more music and sporting events to Macau.”

Earlier this year, Galaxy chairman Lui Che-Woo said phase 3 and 4 of the Galaxy Macau project will include “something special and high-tech” similar to the 3D-blockbuster movie Avatar. In comparison to the soon to be opened Shanghai Disneyland, “our park will be smaller but unique,” said the 86-year-old multi-billionaire.