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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hong Kong Disneyland targets Indian tourists

HK Disneyland opened last month and tour operators and airlines have been using this as an opportunity to promote the Far Eastern destination among Indian tourists. Singapore Airlines recently launched a promotional fare of Rs. 18,000 for a return trip to HK (with an optional ‘paid’ stopover in Singapore). Reports about the HK Disneyland have already started appearing in the Indian MSM. I happened to read reports in Rediff and The Hindu recently.

Ethics and disclosure norms in covering such events

Although I have nothing against the two journalists who have reviewed the tourist attraction, I somehow feel that the readers of Rediff and The Hindu should be informed if the Disneyland management footed the bill (airfare, travel, stay etc) of the journalists. If it is an all-expenses paid trip there is a possibility that the reviewer(s) might not write very critical reviews about the attraction. By giving such disclosures, the media house might actually stand to gain as the public read the review after knowing that the reviewer’s expenses were taken care by the Disneyland management.

I have seen some reviews when Jet / Sahara launched flights from Chennai to Kuala Lumpur. I understand that it is customary for the airlines to take the scribes in the inaugural flight. My general observation is that journos go little bit soft on these reviews. As a consumer, I ought to know whether any particular event/incident could have influenced the objectivity of the reviewer.

I would be delighted if some journo friends throw some light on some of the issues highlighted here.

9 Comments:

  • I am OK with SQ's offer... but I doubt whether it can fly directly to Hkg from India. If not, travellilng to Changi and then to Hkg for 8 hrs plus, would be tedious.... but for the amount they are offering and the service which they may provide in the flight, it would be fine.

    I read some reviews about Disneyland, that it is too much of Chinese to suit the target audience. The resultant environment is more of shopping nature (disney products) and less no. of rides, compared to the US disneyland. I had visited Paris disneyland which was unimpressive. I would rate "Hkg Oceanworld" better than Paris Disneyland. (in my personal opinion)

    But definitely the intial charm is there.. I knew few Indians residing in Singapore, who are planning to visit HKG soon.

    By Blogger Ram.C, at 9:42 AM  

  • this paid trips/easy reviews happens for movies in the US(naan vera edha pathi ezhudha poren?!) the cheapo journos get a nice expenses paid trip to some nice place for a so-called premiere and so review the movie favorably!

    By Blogger Balaji, at 11:02 AM  

  • A return fligh to my home town within INDIA cost upwards of 20K if i don't avail of the LTA(which of course is a part of CTC), so it would make much better sense for me to holiday in HK or Malaysia than Back Home. My twice a year trip home would come down to once a yr.. :-)

    By Blogger anthony, at 2:00 PM  

  • And i don't know if the journos should go soft because it was an all expense trip.. those trips are usually al expense paid I believe. Why would a professional reviewer pay himself and go just to write a review.. Just like a Auto journalist don't have a to buy a merc to review on it.

    By Blogger anthony, at 2:05 PM  

  • I am in HK right now, and havent heard very highly of Disneyland here. That said, I think there are enough attractions in HK to make it worth a visit. Definitely much better than Spore.

    By Blogger Casablanca, at 3:53 PM  

  • kaps agree with ur point - we shud know if they are being sponsored by the review-ee or the newspaper / company / etc ... definitely the attitude will be diff in most cases.

    By Blogger Prerona, at 11:18 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Prasanna, at 12:13 AM  

  • @Ram,
    I also feel that the HK disneyland may not be on par with the ones in the US and Paris. Space is definitely going to be a constraint in HK

    @Balaji,
    Thanks for the info. Movies are atleast OK (if held in the same city) as the money spent by the reviewee might not be much

    @Anthony,
    International air trvl is much more affordable than before and hence a domestic trip can sometimes work out to be costlier than an international trip. The professional reviewer / journo might not make a trip to HK to review Disneyland unless the Disneyland mgmnt offers them a free trip. Hence the Disneyland mgmnt might hv done so

    @Casablanca,
    HK does have more attractions than S'pore. For tourists visiting HK, disneyland will be one more reason to visit HK. The fact that HK Disneyland doesn't match the standards of that in Paris and US might not matter for Mainland tourists or other Asian tourists.

    @Prerona,
    the readers will be able to view the review in the right angle if they know that the reviewer or his/her employer footed the bill.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 10:19 AM  

  • Totally agree with your point of view re: disclosure & transparency, Kaps! There are articles I've read in inflight magazines which state that fact UPFRONT!

    By Anonymous Ravi, at 11:24 AM  

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