Euro Disney has signed a new deal with the French government that gives the theme park operator the option to build a new complex on undeveloped land east of Paris within the next 20 years.
Euro Disney has until 2030 to build a third park in the Marne-la-Vallée region to add to the original Disneyland Paris, opened in 1992, and the neighbouring Walt Disney Studios, which opened in 2002.
As well as a theme park, the project includes a new eco-tourism resort, which would be developed in partnership with Pierre & Vacances, plus a housing development. The amount of land available for development is 2,230 hectares.
The projects are expected to generate 70,000 new jobs, directly and indirectly, and will collectively be worth an estimated €8 billion. The eco-tourism resort is worth an estimated €1.8bn of the total project and will be financed by property investors.
Philippe Gas, chief executive, said: “We are committed to developing our tourist destination and supporting France’s tourism leadership, while addressing the challenges of sustainable leadership.”
However, Gas gave no indication of the timetable or sources of funding for a third park.
Euro Disney, which is Europe’s largest theme park operators, currently suffers from a shortage of hotel beds, with occupancy running close to capacity prior to the global downturn. Occupancy has still been relatively high since, a rate of 87.3 percent in the year ending 30 September, down from 90.9 per cent in 2008.
However, the group’s debt burden has grown over the past two years due to a fall in visitor spending. It recorded a net loss of €63m in 2009 after registering a profit. This year the group reported a net loss of €114.5m in the six months to 31 March 2010 and a 6.5 per fall in attendances.
The Walt Disney Company owns a 40 percent share in Euro Disney, and Prince al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia a 10 percent stake.