Disneyland HK finds new ways to attract Indians

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New Delhi: As Hong Kong Disneyland sees a growth in Indian visitors and with desi filmmakers choosing the destination for shoots, the theme park is now focusing on enticing even more tourists from the country with attractions such as authentic Indian meal options.

"The total attendance to the park has been pegged around 5.9 million for last year and it has grown by 13 per cent the previous year. India is important country among international guests mainly from the Asian countries and we have found the number of visitors from India has been growing," says Wendy Chu, Director, Marketing.

Located on 25 hectares of land reclaimed in Penny's Bau Lantau Island, the newest of the five theme park built by Disney around the world is just a short trip from India to Hong Kong.

"With only 4 hours short flight to Hong Kong and a hassle free visa, Indians to choose this as a short get away," says Chu.

Wendy had earlier this summer hosted 37 children and their families from India. The children had won the Jet Set Go contest by Disney channel, which offered them a two day stay at Hong Kong Disneyland as part of the prize.

With numerous kiosks and walk in counters offering fast food along with the resort's two hotels offering a range of meals including vegetarian options, food should not be a problem for Indian visitors.

"We offer a variety of cuisine for our guests and with the number of Indian visitors rising we have a team of Indian chefs within the park to cater to specific needs and dish out curry buffets and Indian themed meals," says Chu.

lso, in the past year the theme park has played host to a number of film personalities. Cast of Danny Boyle's Oscar winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" paid the resort park a visit.

It was a special arrangement and we had hosted the kids. Other Bollywood names like Raveena Tandon and Maria Goretti had also flown down for visits. We also had a film crew from South Indian film industry filming here for a new flick," says Wendy.

Filmmakers from India are also encouraged to explore the scenic locales of Disneyland Hong Kong's theme park, which officials say offer perfect photo opportunities.

The park is characterised by extra photo areas, which the authorities say is for "Asians, as they love to take pictures."

A market report by the HK Tourism board reveals that for Indians the peak outbound travel seasons are April-June and October-December with a growing popularity of independent travel in small groups of families and friends.

It says, Indians travel to Hong Kong embark from major metropolitan cities with Mumbai and Delhi occupying about 70 per cent followed by others like Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Also, Hong Kong features amongst the top 10 outbound destinations for Indian travellers.

Among other activities planned by the theme park to attract Indian visitors are familiarisation tours every year for Public Relations, event management and tour operators among others. "We offer attractive discounts for bulk travel," says a Disney official.

About HKD 3.6 billion is being ploughed into adding new rides and attractions in the park. Toy Story Land, based on the film "Toy Story 3" opened last year while this July opened Grizzly Gulch theme park, set in an US Western town during the 19th century Gold Rush.

"We have planned more expansions and once all the expansions are done we will have over 100 attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland," says Wendy.

Among the Indian visitors, rides like Philarmagic, a 4D magic show is very popular. "Autopia is a favourite with kids, Jungle Cruise and the larger than life Lion King show are also popular among our guests," she says.

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