Kyoichiro Uenishi, President and COO
A message to shareholders and investors from Kyoichiro Uenishi, Representative Director, President and COO of Oriental Land Co., Ltd.
To shareholders and investors
I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all the healthcare professionals who have been on the front lines making devoted efforts to combat COVID-19 over a long period of time amid the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic. I would also like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the people who have been infected with the disease and those whose daily lives have been affected by the spreading infection. I sincerely pray for their speedy recovery and for the earliest possible containment of the pandemic.
Temporary closure and limited attendance due to COVID-19 pandemic
Last year, we were forced to temporarily close Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea over roughly four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reopening the Parks on July 1, 2020. Then, on September 28, we opened the Tokyo Disneyland Large-Scale Development area, which contains a section themed to the Disney film, Beauty and the Beast. The new area has been hugely popular among Guests.
In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, we operated our resort in line with guidelines, giving top priority to the safety and security of Guests and Cast Members. Even under the impact of the pandemic, we introduced measures that contributed to increasing Guests’ experience value and net sales, as exemplified by the expansion of the shopping service offered on the Tokyo Disney Resort App and the sale of alcoholic beverages on a trial basis at Tokyo Disneyland. We also promoted cost reduction measures including suspending special event programs. Despite such efforts, both net sales and operating profit for the fiscal year ended March 2021 decreased from the previous fiscal year, primarily owing to the impact of the temporary closure and limited attendance.
2020 Medium-term Plan
Under the 2020 Medium-term Plan, we endeavored to strengthen both our structural aspects (facilities) and non-structural aspects (human resources) toward the targets “to consistently provide a highly satisfying Theme Park experience” and “to achieve record high Theme Park attendance and operating cash flow in FY 3/21.”
On the structural front, we offered novelty and comfort with the help of IT. Specifically, for example, we launched “Nemo & Friends SeaRider” (May 2017) and “Soaring: Fantastic Flight” (July 2019), opened the Tokyo Disneyland Large-Scale Development area (September 2020), and introduced the Tokyo Disney Resort App (July 2018).
On the non-structural front, we opened the OLC Career College in October 2018 to support Cast Members in building their career. In addition, we established a new category of employees named “Theme Park operations employee” in February 2020 to help Cast Members to continue working for the Company with a sense of security over the long term, if they wish do so. As such, we strived to create a more comfortable workplace environment and to encourage Cast Members to gain a tangible sense of personal growth with the aim of strengthening both operational efficiency and hospitality skills.
As a result of implementing these structural and non-structural measures, the Intent to Return rate, an indicator of Guests’ satisfaction level, remained high. In the second quarter of the fiscal year ended March 2021, we withdrew our quantitative target under the Medium-term Plan in view of changes in the management environment that exceeded the scope of our assumptions. However, up until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we had been achieving steady growth in attendance and operating cash flow.
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a tremendous change in our business environment as well as how we recognize the Group’s managerial issues. We intend to review our business structure to enable ourselves to adapt flexibly to sudden environmental changes going forward.
Aiming for long-term sustainable growth
The OLC Group has long been involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, and wishes to forever remain a company that can deliver wonderful dreams, moving experiences, happiness and contentment. To this end, we have decided to shift gears to focus on enhancing sustainability as a corporate entity and contribute to achieving a sustainable society by addressing environmental and social issues as an integral part of our management efforts. In the spring of 2022, we will announce our next Medium-term Plan, which will incorporate our perspective on the environment, society and governance (ESG).
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue affecting our operating results. Despite the difficult situation, we are resolutely determined to ride out this rough patch toward our goal of bringing happiness to many people and achieving a wonderful world full of smiles by offering moving experiences and heart-to-heart communications.
We ask for your continued support in our endeavor to achieve long-term sustainable growth.
President and COO