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21 Jan 2021

Hong Kong's Ocean Park gets HK$2.8bn investment to move it from theme park to themed resort
BY Tom Walker

The 44-year-old park will have a renewed focus on edutainment and hospitality

The 44-year-old park will have a renewed focus on edutainment and hospitality
photo: SHutterstock.com/Lee Yiu Tung

The Hong Kong government has revealed plans to provide the historic Ocean Park theme park with a further HK$2.8bn (US$361m, €298m, (£265m) worth of investment over the next four years.

The funding will see the attraction – whose revenues have been under pressure for years and were hit further by the pandemic – being transformed from a traditional theme park into a themed resort, as part of plans to make it more appealing to a wider audience.

As a result, the 44-year-old park, which currently houses a marine mammal area and amusement zone with more than 80 attractions, will be given a new lease of life as a travel destination and marine conservation hub, with a renewed focus on edutainment and hospitality.

Among the proposals are a non-ticketed retail, dining and entertainment zone – to encourage more people to visit the area.

The government said it will provide the park with a one-off injection of HK$1.67bn as working capital and a further HK$1.12bn in order to run the park’s future conservation and education programmes for four years.

Edward Yau, The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said: "Following talks, we have agreed that the park should steer away from the conventional development model of theme parks, cut down on facilities and related expenses which are not cost-effective and re-orient its development focus back to education and conservation.

"During the transformation, the park should place greater emphasis on other elements such as its unique natural setting and the synergy with other attractions and developments in the vicinity of Southern District.

"In mapping out the proposed way forward, we have taken into account the views of the community.

"The operation mode of the park will change by outsourcing part of its park area or facilities for development and operation in order to become financially sustainable in the long run.

"However, it will take time and resources for the park to undergo transformation. To do so, the Government needs to provide assistance in three aspects – offer support for the cost for conservation and education work for four years; alleviate the burden of repaying Government loans, by deferring the commencement of repayment, extending the repayment period and waiving the interest; and provide non-recurrent funding to help the park cope with its present financial need."

The chair of the board of the Ocean Park Corporation, Lau Ming-wai, said, "We are grateful for the invaluable support from the public and the Government.

"The new model of operation enables us to improve, innovate, and invigorate the park in the exciting years ahead. Our renewed direction embodies our vision of advancing Ocean Park into Hong Kong's leading education platform, with a strong mission to promote environmental conservation and protection. Leveraging our exceptional location and with the launch of the Water World, we are confident that Ocean Park will play a pivotal role in the Invigorating Island South initiative.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving business sustainability and to serving the community of Hong Kong."



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