Disney has denied that it is considering opening a new theme park resort in South Africa, after local reports claimed talks have taken place.
A report in the Sunday Times claimed that the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa were battling to secure the resort, at an estimated cost of R25 billion (around $3.6 billion). However, Disney has moved to dismiss the reports, saying "while South Africa is an attractive market, we currently have no plans for the region."
Officials from both Free State and Mpumalanga are said to have spoken with Disney representatives during recent visits to Walt Disney World in Florida. A spokesman for the Free State province, Wisani Ngobeni, said of the talks: "We are working on the project but it is still at the conceptual stage."
Mpumalanga's Tourism and Parks Agency claims that it is further advanced in its plans, with CEO Charles Ndabeni saying: "Our project is known, even at national level. I have presented it to the National Parks CEO Forum." He also said that the province hopes to launch the project by 2020.
For its part, though, Disney says that it continually holds conversations with many different entities about opportunities to expand its business - but that it has no imminent plans for South Africa. The company already has overseas resorts in Japan, Hong Kong and Paris, and plans to open a new resort in Shanghai within the next 5-6 years.