hong kong disneyland re-opening

Hong Kong‘s theme parks are starting to grind back to life. The embattled city, which has endured sanctions from the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and which has been wracked with protests against the increasing influence of China’s government, is hoping to reboot its local economy with Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland re-opening, with the former opening as soon as this week.

Variety reports that Hong Kong’s two major theme parks, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, are set to re-open this week as the local government hopes to revive its flagging economy. Both government-owned parks have been closed since late January to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The 130 days of closure have taken a financial toll on both parks. Ocean Park recently revealed it is close to bankruptcy and sought a government bailout. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Disneyland could lose $145 million in operating income, according to a conference call with Disney in February. Ocean Park is set to open this Saturday, June 13, with Hong Kong Disneyland soon to follow at an unspecified date.

Hong Kong’s economy has been in dire straits lately, with the China-U.S. trade war beginning to take a toll on the region’s economy and ongoing protests against China’s influence on the local government. But Hong Kong officials are hopeful that re-opening the theme parks will revive the region’s economy, according to the South China Morning Post.

“We want to reboot the economy in the second half of this year through new initiatives in tourism, external trade and trade insurance services,” Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said, according to the South China Morning Post (via Deadline). “We are confident we will ride out the economic doldrums.”

Ocean Park, a popular oceanarium and theme park, is making a desperate bid to bring in visitors by dropping its entrance fee and allowing free entry to children under the age of 11 — all of this on top of the social distancing restrictions the park has to impose amid the ongoing pandemic. But Hong Kong is one of the few regions that has managed to mostly beat back the pandemic (mostly through citizen efforts) with only four deaths total thus far. The city never even had to go through a major lockdown.

The re-opening of Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park will certainly be examples to look to while U.S. theme parks start to open their gates, though their circumstances are dramatically different, as the U.S. hasn’t nearly flattened the curve as much as Hong Kong has.

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