Disney theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong are closed due to coronavirus
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The spread of coronavirus has led Disney to close both its Shanghai and Hong Kong parks until further notice, a move that will likely have an effect on its profits this quarter.
The entertainment business is notoriously fickle. But John Gerner, a leisure industry expert at Leisure Business Advisors, said theme parks are generally more stable than movie or TV. But that’s been reversed, here.
The spread of the coronavirus means tens of thousands of people won’t be visiting two of Disney’s major theme parks in Asia. According to Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights at travel analytics company ForwardKeys, this will affect more than just Disney.
“A crisis of this magnitude, can send ripples across the whole tourism ecosystem,” Ponti said. “China is the world’s number one market in terms of travel spending.”
The epidemic began raging in the middle of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is peak tourist season. But Disney is used to weathering crises. And weathering weather crises, said Gerner of Leisure Business Advisors.
“It’s similar to a situation that theme parks deal with all the time, with weather,” he said. “Suddenly, you’ll have a particularly bad weather period — the park underperforms or may even have to close.”
Unlike stormy weather, the coronavirus has captured global attention, and it’s not clear when it will pass. The virus has also shut down nearly every movie theater in China — that’s around 70,000 screens that won’t be showing Disney movies.
“At this point its really hard to quantify what the impact will be, from a financial perspective,” said Tuna Amobi, an analyst with CFRA Research. “It’s going to depend on how much, how long this closure remains.”
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