New Ocean Park boss pushing forward with HK$5.5bn plans for resort destination
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New Ocean Park boss pushing forward with HK$5.5bn plans for resort destination

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Matthias Li Shing-chung, new chief executive of Hong Kong’s Ocean Park, has pledged to push the park forward and transform it into a fully-fledged resort destination.

Li, who took over from Tom Mehrmann on 1 July said his first mission was to see through its HK$5.5bn (US$709m, €636m, £533m) masterplan, which includes the launch of a new waterpark and Marriott Hotel in 2017, followed by a Fullerton hotel in 2020.

"With so many parks having opened, every park needs to have its own selling points. This makes consumers think that going to theme parks is a reason for visiting a country,” said Li, speaking to The Standard.

"Now we only have one single park. It can't become a holiday destination yet. With hotels and other facilities, it can be turned into a resort. Then people will come to spend their holidays and stay for two to three days."

Speaking on the IAAPA Legends panel last November, Li’s predecessor Tom Mehrman said that he wasn’t worried about the likes of Disney, adding that their parks were complementary rather than competition, an opinion shared by Li.

“We had only three million visitors annually before Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005. We both have seven million visitors now,” said Li, adding that visiting theme parks were the second-most popular activity to do in Hong Kong.

2014 visitor numbers showed a 14 per cent drop in visitor numbers to Ocean Park, while mainland tourists from China to Hong Kong Disneyland dropped by 9 per cent. Li however, wasn’t concerned.

"I believe Hong Kong will always have its advantage because we are very creative. How to create new experiences for visitors? I don't need to add new animals or add new rides every day to attract tourists. It is about making them enjoy the park, for example, through our food and services."

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Matthias Li Shing-chung, new chief executive of Hong Kong’s Ocean Park, has pledged to push the park forward and transform it into a fully-fledged resort destination.
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