HONG KONG, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's Hong Kong theme park operator said on Tuesday its net loss for 2017 doubled to HK$345 million ($44.10 million), marking a third straight year of losses, due to park expansion plans and higher operating costs.
Hong Kong Disneyland, the company's smallest theme park, has been hit by slow local retail and tourism markets and suffered its first loss in four years in 2015.
Revenue for the fiscal year ended September 2017 rose 8 percent to HK$5.1 billion, buoyed by a 3 percent increase in number of visitors at 6.2 million.
The theme park saw an increase of 5 percent in the number of international visitors, touching a record high of around 1.6 million. More than 70 million guests have visited the park ever since it was launched in 2005, the company said.
In 2016, Hong Kong Disneyland said it would invest another $1.4 billion to expand the loss-making park.
Iron Man Experience, Disney Park's first Marvel-themed ride which was launched in January last year, now serves as the most popular attraction at the resort, it said.
The Hong Kong-based resort faces stiff competition from other theme park operators such as Ocean Park, which has been vying for mainland Chinese visitors.
Hong Kong retail sales ended a three-year slump in 2017, rising 2.2 percent, underpinned by a rise in tourist arrivals from mainland China and upbeat property and share prices that boosted sentiment.
$1 = 7.8225 Hong Kong dollars Reporting By Twinnie Siu and Anne Marie Roantree, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips