Hong Kong’s Ocean Park is striving to transform itself into a landmark resort destination in a bid to rescue its ailing business with its first hotel slated to open on June 13.
Announcing the launch of the 471-room Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel, the theme park’s chief executive, Matthias Li, said on Wednesday he expected the project to give visitor numbers and revenue a double-digit boost.
“This will be a milestone for Ocean Park,” he said. “This will bring a more holistic and diverse experience to not only the tourists but also locals. We expect to attract more visits and longer duration of stay. Our target is double-digit growth in visitor numbers and revenue.”
He made the upbeat forecast despite the Aberdeen park struggling to keep its business afloat.
The park recorded a deficit of HK$234.4 million in the financial year ending June 30 last year. That was a slight improvement on the HK$241.1 million loss the year before, but attendance figures fell 4 per cent to 5.8 million.
Li said the HK$5-billion hotel would transform Ocean Park into a premier resort from its traditional role as a theme park. “We’ll launch more educational programmes to attract more families to visit the park, including those from overseas,” he added.
The five-star hotel, owned by property developer Lai Sun Group, will also provide facilities for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions. The average room rate will be more than HK$2,000 (US$256).
The hotel will have a “green theme” including a rooftop with greenery, nature-themed decoration, a 16-metre high aquarium in the main lobby, lagoons, and a spacious pillar-free hotel ballroom that can cater for a maximum of 80 tables.
Lawmaker Yiu Si-wing, representing the tourism sector, said the hotel would make Ocean Park more competitive in the face of fierce competition from a similar park in Zhuhai across the border.
“Ocean Park’s attractions to mainland tourists has been weakening as there is a similar park in Zhuhai with excellent supporting facilities such as a grand hotel providing more than 1,000 rooms.
“For mainland tourists especially those from Guangdong province, Ocean Park has become less attractive compared with the park in Zhuhai,” he pointed out.
This was why a rise in inbound tourists to Hong Kong last year failed to boost Ocean Park’s visitor numbers. But the new hotel would help bring tourists back, as there was a lack of resort hotels in the city, he said.
“Last year the occupancy rate of hotels near town centres reached about 90 per cent. Since this new hotel is located near Admiralty, it would be a big advantage for attracting tourists.” he said, adding that the mid-range room pricing was also attractive.