Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Disneyland Paris planning ‘Star Wars’ zone in upgrade

TOURISM TONIC:The French president hailed the investment as a ‘very strong commitment’ to France after talks at his office with Disney chairman Bob Iger


Disney characters attend the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris at the park in Marne-la-Vallee, France, on March 25 last year.

Photo: Reuters

The Walt Disney Co on Tuesday announced a 2 billion euro (US$2.5 billion) expansion of its Paris amusement park which would add a new Star Wars-themed zone to the huge site.

Disneyland Paris is also to build new areas devoted to its hit animated film Frozen and the Marvel comics franchise (Spider-Man, The Hulk and X-Men) as part of the makeover, which is to take several years.

The work is to start in 2021 and significantly expand the park, which is Europe’s most popular private tourism destination with 320 million visits since it opened in 1992.

A new artificial lake at the site in Marne-la-Vallee, in the eastern Paris suburbs, is to become a hub for live entertainment shows.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the investment as a “very strong commitment” to France after talks at his office with Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger.

“Your confidence shows that France is back!” tweeted the French president, who has made reinvigorating the economy a top priority.

Disneyland Paris accounts for 6.2 percent of France’s tourism income alone, according to Disney, which described the expansion plan as “one of the most ambitious development projects” in the park’s history.

The US entertainment giant took back full control of the French park last year after buying the 14 percent stake it did not already own.

Despite its popularity, Disneyland Paris is burdened by heavy debts that surpassed 1 billion euros in the financial year to September 2016 and it has made a loss almost every year since 1992.

It managed to reduce its losses in the second half of 2016 thanks to a boost in visitor numbers, which had dropped after a string of terrorist attacks in France.

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