Disney hurting from decline in foreign tourists

Posted Thursday, September 5, 2002 5:10 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney's foreign tourist attendance is down 30%, contributing to an overall decrease of 6%. Hotel reservations this quarter are down 10% from last year.

Read more from Bloomberg News via News-Press.com.

Thursday, September 5, 2002 5:12 AM

Disney as a destination park operator I can accept that they're having an off year. But Six Flags? Please. It doesn't add up. The other big operator is doing just fine this year with its regional parks, citing higher attendance and a big increase in its lodging stays. Being a regional operator is supposed to create an advantage when people aren't going to Orlando.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 5:56 AM
I couldn't agree more. Usually, a downturn in the economy is good for the little guys. I guess there is an exception to every rule.
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Thursday, September 5, 2002 6:01 AM
According to the article, Kieran Burke said:

"'Lingering concerns about terrorism' contributed to the decline".....

If that is indeed the case, then why, as Jeff mentioned, is a certain other theme park chain experiencing a season where attendance is up? Why did the small parks like Holiday World and Conneaut have seasons where attendance was much higher than expected? It couldn't have anything to do with quality operations and excellent guest service now, could it?

If SF would open their eyes and realize that when a guest goes to a park like Knoebels or HW and they are actually treated as a "guest", they will be more apt to return. I would rather drive 6 hours to Knoebels than deal with my local SF park sometimes. When a guest drops $10 to park and $40 (and up) to get in, they expect to have a good day. Instead, SF opts to run one train on some of their coasters and has employees that really don't give a rat's behind about pleasing the guests. Said guest sees long lines at the major rides, then sees the FastLane stand where they can drop even more cash to skip waiting in the long lines. Guest gets more irritated as they encounter dirty restrooms and midways. Guest goes home angry and decides that on their next amusement park visit. they will go somewhere that doesn't have the words "Six Flags" in its name.

It really is amazing how blinded I was for a while with SFWoA. I DO enjoy some of the rides there (Batman Knight Flight is still my favorite B&M in Ohio) and have really enjoyed the wildlife side this season.... but it seems that more often than not, I leave the park frustrated and angry rather than happy and satisfied. Perhaps they forgot that the amusement industry means providing a fun experience for guests. But as I have said time and again, what do I know? I am not an SF employee.

ray p. *** This post was edited by ProgRay on 9/5/2002. ***

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 6:04 AM
I think that parks like the new DisneySea park in Japan are probably affecting the numbers for orlando as well. I mean why fly all those miles when Disney is just outside your door?

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 6:18 AM

I kind of doubt that, TwistedForcerXL200. I'm not sure Japan makes up a significant portion of foreign Orlando Guests. Tokyo Disneyland is over 15 years old, and is (in my opinion) much nicer than the Orlando resort. That's also much more distance to travel than most foreign visitors that come to Orlando.

I'd be interested to see a breakdown of foreign guests that come to Orlando.

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- Peabody

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 6:51 AM
Well, when I was in Orlando last year a week after September 11th, most of the people that I came in contact with at Universal were foreign. Mostly from Scotland and England actually. There weren't too many American tourists there, as I figured would be the case. One would think that with Europe being closer to the East Coast than Japan, that most of Orlando's business comes from Europe. Being a cast member at Disneyland, I mostly see Japanese people here in California, simply because of geographic location and of course, it's the first. Japanese people care greatly about the legacy and "culture" of Disney and of Disneyland in my experience, even more so than most Americans. I see all nationalities and cultures represented at Disneyland, but I'd say the majority of foreign tourists come from Japan, China and of course, Mexico.
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Thursday, September 5, 2002 7:51 AM

"In the United States, consumers probably will spend more money closer to home, at local shopping malls and on entertainment such as movies and video games..."

This would seem to be precisely the reason why a company like Six Flags should not be suffering as badly as they claim to be from terrorism concerns. They have 38 parks spread across the country and have just about every major metropolitan area covered. To me, Six Flags saying that terrorism concerns are hurting them is like McDonalds saying that people aren't going to their stores to buy Big Macs because they're scared of terrorism. Like McDonalds, Six Flags parks are everywhere. People don't have to travel great distances to get to them and they are not "symbols" of our culture like Disney is. I can buy that terrorism concerns might hurt Disney, but Six Flags? C'mon Burke! Pull your head out of your rear end!

Cedar Point is more of a "destination" park than any Six Flags park I know of. It isn't a "destination" park on the scale of a place like Disney, but somehow, they managed to have a solid attendance year along with several other parks in the chain, including Dorney Park - a park that serves a similar market as one of Six Flags three big "problem" parks this year, Six Flags Great Adventure.

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-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 8:13 AM

Peabody: I disagree that Japanese tourists would not constitute a large percentage of foreign tourists. Last time I was there I was astounded at the number of Asian tourists.

Disneyland Tokyo might be "old," but DisneySea is far from it. See the earlier news item regarding its remarkable attendance.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 8:19 AM

Uhhhhhh....what do you expect SF top brass to say? That they're mismanaging their properties?

"Basically, we're seeing declines because our strategies continue to fail and we suck..."

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 8:25 AM
Jeff: Interesting, I saw none of that when I was there a few years ago. In fact, an astounding amount of the visitors were from Brazil! (Tour groups, millions of them, mostly kids) I did not see that many Asian visitors. After Brazilians, I heard several differrent European accents.

I have no clue about the breakdown of foreign guests. I doubt they are out there in the public record, but I'd like to see numbers. I would suspect that LA would have many Japanese visitors, but I did not suspect FL would have a large number.

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- Peabody *** This post was edited by Peabody on 9/5/2002. ***

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 8:33 AM
There's a quick way to estimate where Disney's guests are coming from. Look at the racks for park maps. Since Disney prints these in various languages, the space allocated on the racks is probably a good indicator. If I recall correctly from Orlando, for non English languages, Spanish was number 1 covering most of Latin America plus US spanish speakers, followed by Portugese (mainly Brazil, then French and German. Oriental languages had only small rack space. I can't swear that I could tell which brochures were Chinese, Korean, or Japanese.
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Thursday, September 5, 2002 9:46 AM
Ditto's to ProRay!!!! Maybe SF will have increases in attendance when they start to put their guests first and everything else second. Maybe someday they will realize that while they may have some excellant rides, thats only part of the equation and when they start to consider guests enjoyment more than trying to make a quick buck on fast lane maybe they will realize why they are rated so poorly as compared to other theme park companies.
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Thursday, September 5, 2002 9:46 AM

I agree Peabody about the south american (in general). tourist . If youve ever visited orlando in the summer you know that the place is abundant with south american tourists- brazialians and argentinans specifically. You can always spot them because they travel in large groups with matching t-shirts and speak portugese, or spanish. ;0)

Everyone knows about the current economy in those two countires, and in South America in general.

I wouldnt be surprised that this is a major contributer to the disney drop off

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 12:24 PM

People have made long-term changes in their vacation habits,” said Paul Kim, an analyst at Kaufman Bros. “It looks like people from the U.K. and Canada just aren’t flying.”

I find this comment offensive, I could understand Canadian People not flying over to go to the Parks, but there are plenty of people from England still flying over to Florida at least to visit all the parks, I know this because my Dad works in a Travel Agents, and he has commented on how many British People still keep going to Florida this year despite any worries.
Incidently, Its seems British People are the ones keeping the parks afloat and preventing them from closing in Florida. Basiclly My Uncle Went to Florida in Late October last year despite the September 11th Attacks, and when he went to Sea World, he saw one of the shows, and the Staff were so amazed to see so many British People at the park, they were commenting that if there was'nt so many British People actually in the park, they would be forced to close because of low visitor numbers.

So personally, I find it quite cheeky that they are saying the Brits are not flying over to Florida this year, because they most certaintly still are, I'm guessing they must mean people from other parts of Europe are not flying, because most Brits over here are still not scared of Flying and are still taking yearly holidays to America and especially Florida. *** This post was edited by PaulD on 9/5/2002. ***

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 12:29 PM
You must be the most sensitive person in the world if this "offends" you.
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Thursday, September 5, 2002 12:37 PM

Cricket I believe you must have taken that the wrong way. I am similarly offended by statements of Americans not traveling due to 9/11. It's scape-goat statment. The economy was tanking BEFORE 9/11 which is something people quite often forget. If there is any reason we're not traveling as much it's becuase we haven't got any disposable income.

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Thursday, September 5, 2002 1:31 PM
I know its only semantics, but are you really "offended"?
,of·fense Pronunciation Key (-fns)
n. The act of causing anger, resentment, displeasure, or affront. The state of being offended. A violation or infraction of a moral or social code; a transgression or sin. A transgression of law; a crime. Something that outrages moral sensibilities: Genocide is an offense to all civilized humans. (fns) The act of attacking or assaulting.

or in this case: BRITS not flying is offense to all civilized humans.

;0)

. *** This post was edited by Cricket on 9/5/2002. ***

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Friday, September 6, 2002 12:47 PM

You must be the most sensitive person in the world if this "offends" you.

Let me make my point clear that I am not really offended by this report, all I am trying to say is that this report is CLEARLY WRONG, As you can see in the report, It cleary says that People in the UK are not flying(Or at least thats what they think) But TRUST ME, this is so so wrong. Here in England, People have gotten over any worries about the September 11th Attacks and anything related to terrorism, and are back flying in their thousands, even my Dad has commented how Business has finally picked up to exactly the same it was last year which is excellent, And Guess where most people booked their holidays than anywhere else in America(Florida of course)
Personally, I wish they would straighen out their facts before any kind of comments like that come up, Foreign Visitors may still be put off by visiting Florida/America in general, but the Brits are still visiting in their hundreds.

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Saturday, September 7, 2002 4:06 AM
Yes, the report is totally inaccurate! As far as I know, there has been no decrease in UK visitors flying to Florida. I flew there myself last January, and never even thought about Sept. 11th until I overheard someone talking about it at Heathrow airport.

Americans may be flying less, but UK citizens certainly aren't! That "analyst" can't be much of one if thats not the conclusion he has come to. *** This post was edited by Andrew Rathe on 9/7/2002. ***

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