Disneyland Paris visitor numbers down since attacks

Paris (AFP) –


Disneyland Paris has seen visitor numbers fall by eight percent since deadly attacks in the French capital last November in which 130 people died, the Euro Disney company announced Tuesday.

"Primarily due to the November events in Paris," Euro Disney saw its first quarter (from October-January) revenues fall to 337.6 million euros ($380 million), from 341.5 million euros for the same period in the previous accounting year, the company said -- a drop of 1.1 percent.

"We experienced strong demand leading up to the November 13th events in Paris, following which we experienced booking cancellations," said Euro Disney president Tom Wolber.

The Disney resort figures were also hit "by our decision to close the theme parks for four days," during a period of national mourning in France.

"Despite the softened tourism environment, we remain confident in our long term strategy and we are encouraged by the resilience of the French market in particular," Wolber added in the company report.

Disneyland Paris is the most visited theme park in Europe, with 14.8 million visitors in 2015, according to Euro Disney's annual report.

The closure from November 14-17 was a first for the attraction which opened in 1992.

This decision helped create an overall drop of 8 percent in visitors to the two joint theme parks, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios.

The loss in footfall was made up for in part by a four percent rise in the average spend per visitor.

The biggest stayaways, apart from French visitors, were tourists from Britain and the Netherlands, though numbers were slightly up from Spain.

The hotels serving the entertainment resort in Marne-la-Vallee, east of Paris, saw a corresponding 0.9 point fall in room occupation rates, though spending per room rose two percent.

Last year Euro Disney sliced its net losses by 10 percent to 84.2 million euros on turnover of 1.37 billion euros.

Euro Disney has been seeking to restructure the business for years.

In January 2015, shareholders approved a recapitalisation plan to raise one billion euros to revive the struggling theme park burdened by huge debt as well as falling visitor numbers.

The shareholders voted in favour of a series of measures including 420 million euros of fresh funds from the US parent group, The Walt Disney Company.

On November 18, five days after the Paris attacks, Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co, owned by a Saudi prince, announced an injection of 49.2 million euros ($52.37 million) into Euro Disney.