Disneyland opening pushes up airfares to Shanghai

Visitors walk past a gate at Walt Disney Co.'s Disneyland Resort in Shanghai, China.
Visitors walk past a gate at Walt Disney Co.'s Disneyland Resort in Shanghai, China.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (China Daily/Asia News Network) - Chinese airlines are scheduling more domestic flights to Shanghai to cater to an expected rush to visit the theme park, according to The Beijing News.

The newspaper estimates that the opening of Shanghai Disneyland, which officially opens on June 16, will see an increase of about 3 million air travellers to Shanghai in 2016.

The current price of a one-way ticket from Beijing to Shanghai is around 490 yuan (S$103). But it will go up to more than 620 yuan on June 17, the day after the resort's opening.

And every Friday after Shanghai Disneyland opens will see a fare rise and fall afterwards.

The 34-billion-yuan (S$7.17 billion), 390-hectare park is Disney's first on mainland China.

Daily standard tickets for the opening day costing 370 yuan each were sold out on Shanghai Disneyland's official website within minutes in late March, reflecting the massive interests among Chinese tourists.

Industry insiders predict that a large number of visitors will pour into Shanghai Disneyland after mid-July when the summer vacations begin, before which tourists will mainly visit on weekends.

Since the beginning of this year, more flights are being handled by Shanghai Pudong Airport, the nearest gateway to Shanghai Disney Resort. It's estimated that the number of flights will peak at around 1,370 to 1,410 per day after the opening of the resort.

A tourism expert at Ctrip, China's leading online travel agency, estimates a three-day visit to the resort would cost a couple from Beijing some 4,600 yuan.

The resort is more pricey than other theme parks in China, but cheaper than its counterparts in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Other analysts say that if tourists choose not to stay Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, the cost will drop to around 1,000 yuan per person for a three-day visit.

Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda Group, whose theme parks are Shanghai Disneyland's main competition, said on China Central Television that Disney won't be profitable in the next two decades in the Chinese market where Wanda dominates.

Mickey Mouse is "over the hill", Wang said, and Disney will not succeed without innovation.