Even Disney cuts jobs as people skip theme parks

April 5th, 2009 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, April 5 (IANS) The US economic downturn has begun to take its toll on the entertainment industry, with giant Walt Disney Co. axing 1,900 jobs from its theme parks in California and Florida.
According to reports, the company’s Walt Disney World in Orlando, which is the world’s most visited recreational resort, has eliminated 1,400 jobs.

The original Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, will also axe 300 positions.

The rest of the jobs are being eliminated at the company’s corporate headquarters at Burbank near here, reports said.

Disney employs about 80,000 people in its parks and resorts which account for a quarter of its total business and revenue.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney is bracing for an extended downturn as people skip theme parks to save money.

“The recession, and the recent decline, has really hit the theme park industry, but it has hit the destination parks more than the regional parks,” the newspaper quoted Edward Shaw, an associate with travel industry consultant Economics Research Associates, as saying.

“People are staying closer to home,” added Shah.

The entertainment giant’s sprawling 25,000-acre Walt Disney World in Orlando has been particularly hard-hit by the recession, the report says.

According to it, traffic to Orlando International Airport - which transports visitors to and from Disney - was down 14 percent in February compared with the same period last year.

Hotel bookings at the Disney resorts were also falling sharply, with March figures down 20 percent from the same period last year, the newspaper said.

The original Disneyland at Anaheim near here has also seen its bookings shrink by 12 percent in January-February and 15 percent in March compared to the same period last year.

The number of passengers flying into Los Angeles International Airport fell by 4.6 million in January, down 11.2 percent from January 2008, the newspaper said quoting the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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