The sluggishness of tourism tarnishes the reopening of Disneyland Paris

The park is back in service this Thursday by adapting its offer to the limits imposed by the health crisis.

This is encouraging news for tourism in Europe. Disneyland Paris, the main tourist destination in the Old Continent, Mandatory booking of tickets on the internet, wearing a mask from 6 years old, suspension of the parade and hugs with Mickey and his acolytes … The park has however changed its habits because of the health situation. And he is back in service by seeking to limit risks in the absence of a majority of his clients. “Subject to developments in the situation”, two hotels will not reopen before the 1is and July 13. “Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 10% of foreign tourists in France went to Disney, recalls Didier Arino, director of the Protourisme cabinet. It will take several years before a flow is found to achieve financial equilibrium. It is a threat to jobs and investments in the region. ”

Since its opening in April 1992, Disneyland Paris has held a special place by attracting mainly foreigners. In 2017 (the company has not communicated since), its visitors were French for 44% of them (while this rate is rather 90-95% in the other parks). The others are mainly British (28%), Dutch and Spanish (13% each) and Germans (12%). Many will not be back for several months. Will the park manage to compensate for their absence by attracting more French visitors? Disneyland Paris can count on a pool of 18 million people, living less than an hour and a half from the park. They are potential customers, provided that the park, symbol of mass tourism, offers them suitable offers and reassures them.

In losses and lack of liquidity, Disneyland Paris proceeded in May 2020 to a capital increase in the amount of 350 million euros subscribed by its American parent company. That hasn’t stopped the park from continuing with renovations: Sleeping Beauty’s castle is currently covered and the Disneyland Hotel is closed. He also innovates. Visitors will be treated to a new attraction, Cars Road Trip, offering “A journey inspired by Route 66, in the footsteps of popular characters from Disney and Pixar Cars films like Lightning McQuenn and Martin”. From June 21, they will be able to stay in a new hotel: Disney’s Hotel New York-The Art of Marvel, a four-star with 561 rooms.

SEE AS ​​WELL – Final preparations at Disneyland Paris before the reopening

“A good signal”

“That the leader is restarting is a good signal for amusement parks, the majority of which reopened on June 9”, assures François Fassier, director of the leisure parks division at Compagnie des Alpes and vice-president of Snelac, the national union for leisure, attractions and cultural spaces. Disneyland Paris has a very strong force of attraction. But the lack of international visitors will lead it to favor the French, and therefore compete more head-on with other parks. This forces all players to innovate and rethink their commercial and communication strategies. At Parc Astérix, for example, internet sales have gone from 13% in 2019 to more than 20%, and this is accelerating.»

The 65% gauge imposed by the government until June 30 is not very restrictive. “The parks are gradually getting back on their feet, some employees are still in training, says François Fassier. To ensure a quality experience, they go beyond the restriction on attendance that is imposed. ” The expert expects a good summer for the sector, as many French people will stay in France. “The level of reservations for the coming weeks is rather encouraging”,he assures.


Europe opens up to American tourists

Brussels gave the green light on Wednesday for the return of American tourists to the European Union. And this even if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19. Europe closed its borders in March 2020 for non-essential travel and a year ago established a shortlist, regularly updated, of third countries whose residents are allowed to come. Depending on their epidemiological situation and the progress of the vaccination campaign, countries may be included if they have registered less than 75 cases of Covid
per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. This is the case of the United States (73.9), which nevertheless crossed the threshold of 600,000 deaths on Tuesday. In 2019, France welcomed 4.7 million Americans. It is the first nationality of non-European tourists whose luxury hotels are eagerly hoping to return this summer.

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