China Focus: Shanghai Disneyland reopens with controlled capacity
SHANGHAI, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Shanghai Disneyland theme park reopened to visitors with controlled capacity on Monday, after the COVID-19 epidemic in China became more subdued.
This is the first Disneyland theme park in the world that has reopened since the outbreak of the COVID-19.
The Shanghai Disney Resort announced its temporary closure in late January in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It reopened the Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel in early March.
REOPENING WITH VITALITY AND CONFIDENCE
Despite epidemic containment measures such as temperature and health QR code checks, tourists were thrilled to be back after the park's closure of more than three months.
"We are eager to visit Shanghai Disneyland and we will ensure good personal protection according to the park's requirements," said Chen Maoyang, standing in a queue early Monday morning to enter the park with her 6-year-old daughter.
As the youngest Disney park, the quickly expanding Shanghai Disneyland showed its popularity among tourists with this reopening, as tickets for May 11 sold out within a day of becoming available.
Joe Schott, president and general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort, showed great confidence in the resilience of Disney business.
"We are extraordinarily confident in our business and the fact that our guests have deep-seated emotions for our product, and we are very fortunate to have fans that are very fond of the product and talk about it routinely," Schott said.
He said the Shanghai Disney team was encouraged by positive feedback from tourists, who sent messages such as "my happiness comes back" and "I can't wait to travel to Shanghai Disneyland" to social media accounts of the resort, after it announced its reopening.
Shanghai Disney Resort made full use of the past three months to train employees, support them emotionally and professionally and get them fully prepared for the theme park's reopening, according to the resort.
It laid out a carefully controlled operational plan to maintain health and safety, taking a slew of containment measures including capacity controls, advanced reservations and temperature screenings. Some indoor attractions are closed during the initial advanced reservation phase.
Following the epidemic, people need to restore joy and happiness in their lives and that is where Disney's strength is, Schott said.
According to the operator of the resort, the highly anticipated "Zootopia"-themed land, the park's eighth themed land and the first-ever "Zootopia"-themed land around the world, was under construction.
"We're really excited about the progress that we have on 'Zootopia' in the last few months," Schott said.
REVIVING TOURISM MARKET
The reopening of Shanghai Disneyland is a landmark for the tourism markets in Shanghai, the Yangtze River Delta and even China as the country entered the phase of regular epidemic prevention and control, said He Jianmin with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
A total of 3,000 packages at a campsite close to the Shanghai Disney Resort were soon sold out and bookings for hotels surrounding the resort skyrocketed 162 percent compared to the May Day holiday during a Trip.com Group's livestream on May 6 when the Shanghai Disneyland theme park announced its plan to reopen on May 11.
"The reopening of Shanghai Disneyland, as well as Chinese consumers' snapping up tickets online, reflect the reviving tourism market," He said.
With one of the world's largest purchasing power, Chinese consumers still have a great appetite for tourism, particularly the middle and high-end domestic tourism products, said Fang Hongfeng with Trip.com Group.
Shanghai received a total of 7.07 million tourists during the May Day holiday, generating total spending of 9.5 billion yuan (about 1.34 billion U.S. dollars) with local leisure consumption booming.
"We believe in the long term benefits of the China market. That's what you'll see us continue to do," Schott said.