More visitors to Disneyland Paris, but not enough

9th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 8, 2006 (AFP) - Visitor numbers to Disneyland Paris increased by 500,000 in the 12 months to the end of September, but operating company Euro Disney said Wednesday it had made a loss of EUR 73.1 million over the period.

PARIS, Nov 8, 2006 (AFP) - Visitor numbers to Disneyland Paris increased by 500,000 in the 12 months to the end of September, but operating company Euro Disney said Wednesday it had made a loss of EUR 73.1 million over the period.

A total of 12.8 million people visited the theme parc, 30 kilometres east of Paris, which was better than the previous 12 months but below the 13.1 million customers of 2002.

"After a year of transition, after the restructuring of the debt in 2005, we are returning to growth," finance director Ignace Lahoud said during a press conference.

Sales in the company's theme parcs and nearby hotels grew to EUR 1.088 billion in the 2005-2006 financial year from 1.041 billion last year and the operating loss narrowed sharply to EUR 2.4 million from 31.9 million.

Lahoud said that the increase in visitor numbers had been driven by increased trips from French and Spanish tourists, which represented 42 percent and 11 percent of total visitors respectively.

The average amount spent per visitor increased from EUR 44.3 to EUR 44.8 and the occupancy rate in hotels increased from 80.7 percent to 83.5 percent.

The debt-ridden Euro Disney group has had to restructure its finances twice since being launched in the early 1990s and completed a 253.3-million-euro capital increase in February last year to avert insolvency.

The rights issue was undertaken after agreement was reached with Walt Disney and creditor banks to restructure and cut the group's debt from EUR 2.4 billion to EUR 1.9 billion.

The rise in visitor numbers to Disneyland Paris comes despite a number of disturbances that might have been expected to deter tourists.

France was rocked by violence in depressed suburbs around Paris and other cities last November when youths burned thousands of cars to protest joblessness and alleged police mistreatment.

Student and trade union groups then took to the streets in March and early April, leading to violent clashes, to denounce a controversial youth employment bill, which the government eventually withdrew.

Poor summer weather in northern Europe worked against the company as well, and recent strikes from staff meant visitors to the attraction, which sells itself as a children's fantasy world, were confronted by workers protesting low pay.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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