Hong Kong’s Ocean Park secures HK$2.8 billion investment to move it from theme park to theme resort

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

The funding will see the attraction – whose revenues have been under pressure for years and have been hit even harder by the pandemic – transform 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 an amusement area with more than 80 attractions, will be given a new lease of life as a travel destination and marine conservation center, with a renewed focus on edutainment and hospitality.

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

The government said it would provide the park with a one-time injection of HK$1.67 billion as working capital and an additional HK$1.12 billion to run the park’s future conservation and education programs. for four years.

Edward Yau, the Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development, said: “Following discussions, we have agreed that the park should move away from the conventional theme park development model, reduce facilities and related expenses that are not profitable and re-direct its development towards education and conservation.

“During the transformation, the park is expected to put more emphasis on other elements such as its unique natural setting and synergy with other nearby attractions and developments in the Southern District.

“In charting the proposed way forward, we considered the views of the community.

“The way the park operates will change by outsourcing part of its park area or facilities for development and operation in order to become financially viable in the long term.

“However, it will take time and resources for the park to undergo a transformation. To do this, the government must provide assistance in three aspects: offering support for the cost of conservation and education work for four years; ease the burden of repaying government loans, by deferring the start of repayment, extending the repayment period and waiving interest; and providing one-time funding to help the park meet its current financial needs.”

Ocean Park Corporation Chairman Lau Ming-wai said, “We are grateful for the invaluable support from the public and the government.

“The new operating model allows us to improve, innovate and reinvigorate the park in the exciting years to come. Our new leadership embodies our vision to make Ocean Park Hong Kong’s leading educational hub, with a strong mission to promote conservation and environmental protection.Leveraging our exceptional location and with the launch of Water World, we are confident that Ocean Park will play a pivotal role in the Invigorating Island South initiative.

“We remain true to our commitment to ensuring the sustainability of the business and serving the Hong Kong community.”

Harold B. McConnell