Ocean Park asks for HK$10bn

OCEAN Park (海洋公園) is seeking HK$10 billion from the government to enhance its environment and conservation for “strategic repositioning” amid its dire financial position for a fourth year in a row.

The park needs the money to build an attraction with a forest theme and seaside walks for visitors to enjoy nature “to enhance the park’s competitiveness”.

A paper detailing its funding application will be submitted to the Legislative Council’s panel on economic development on 20 January.

The park has seen a four-year-high deficit of HK$557.3 million in the 2018-19 financial year, double the HK$236.5 million deficit the year before.

About 5.7 million people visited the park in the financial year, down from 5.8 million the previous year.Admission revenue dropped 3.81 percent to HK$1.14 billion.

Amid the months-long social unrest, the park admitted that individual and group visitors dropped more than 60 percent from July to December due to a drop in visitors to Hong Kong and a sluggish economy.

Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing (姚思榮) said it was time for the park to think about repositioning itself as he cannot see how it can turn its losses into profit with “minor fixes”.

Yiu believes the scale and area of rebuilding would be large and he will support the park to seek the funding if its plan can meet lawmakers’ expectations.

“Ocean Park is our own attraction, Hong Kong people would hope it can continue to operate.”

 (This article is published on Junior Standard on 20 January 2020)


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