Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park theme park, set to open to the public in September 2018, hopes to attract five million visitors a year.
The theme park located in the Pudong New Area will be another significant step to establishing Shanghai as a tourist destination.
Attendance at Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park will be boosted by the increasingly affluent Yangtze River Delta region. The 330 million people who live in the area are within a three-hour drive of both Shanghia Disney and Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park. Shanghai municipality is supporting the region with infrastructure improvements, including expanding motorway links, reducing travelling time between the two theme parks. This will also reduce driving time to Hong Kong. This could in turn threaten or potentially be an opportunity for rival Hong Kong Ocean Park, which has seen visitor numbers decline recently.
New attendance target for Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park
Wang Xuguang, chief executive of Haichang Ocean Park Holdings, told South China Morning Post that the attendance estimate was calculated by working with local tourism authorities on entertainment demands: “We previously eyed three million visitors a year, but after further study into market demand and consumer spending power, we think that was an underestimate. The success of Shanghai Disneyland has also inspired us to set a higher target.”
Shanghai Disneyland attracted 11 million visitors in its first 12 months of operation to June 2017. Estimates for visitor numbers at the new Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park are set at 3.2 million in the first year, rising to 5 to 6 million per annum in the following years.
Pricing is expected to undercut Shanghai Disneyland by around 30-40 per cent initially.
Wang Xuguang has previously expressed concerns about the future of the theme park industry in China, citing “daunting challenges” ahead as competition and operating costs increase, with consolidation likely in the marketplace. He asserts that growth will be achieved with investment in IP and brand awareness and increasing per capita spend.