New event opportunities at Hong Kong's revamped Ocean Park

US$361 million facelift and already, planners are expressing interest.

Ocean Park_Water World Rendering_2
Visitors will soon pay per activity instead of the current one-day entry pass to Ocean Park Hong Kong, which is closed due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. (Pictured: New build, Water World)

Hong Kong’s homegrown Ocean Park has suffered months of hardship following back-to-back closures as a result of the ongoing pandemic and the previous year’s civil unrest.

But the iconic theme park is attempting to change all that, with a dramatic head-to-toe revamp, including a new business model to attract tourists and corporates alike. The price tag: HK$2.8 billion (US$361 million) in funding from the Hong Kong government.

In a significant deviation from its all-inclusive ticketing system, Ocean Park will instead charge visitors based on a per-activity model as part of efforts to diversify revenue in its redevelopment plan.

The park is set to introduce admission-free entry to new retail, dining and entertainment zones and a cut back on many of its rides. The main focus of the park will also be its animal exhibitions and the brand-new, all-weather water park — both due to open later this year.

This latest operating model aims to project the park as a resort destination, rather than its current theme park status.

"The new operating model enables us to improve, innovate and invigorate the Park in the exciting years ahead,” said Lau Ming-wai, chairman of Ocean Park, in a statement.

New features include: A conservation-driven ethos, an all-weather water park and a dedicated wellness zone.

Ocean Park_Dining Offers
Free entry area, all-weather water park and marine conservation focus unveiled as the Hong Kong icon changes tactics to stay afloat.

So, what about drawing in corporate groups?

The 44-year old park has long offered MICE packages to attract international and local corporates. Previous business packages included animal experiences — such as viewing the penguins and aquarium — as well as thrill rides, performances and shows.

And this will continue. Facilities and venues within the park will also be available for exclusive hire.

“The plan provides lots of event opportunities and will offer options where visitors can enjoy world-class performances with gourmet dining and photo opportunities at various areas”, a spokesperson at Ocean Park told M&C Asia.

Positive response from industry

Hong Kong-based events and hospitality consultants Entertaining Asia has been keeping a close eye on Ocean Park. “On our numerous visits to Ocean Park, we have realised that the park does have a number of unique areas, which can not only be used for business events, but also for custom-made public events for the local audience,” said managing director, Nick Willsher.

The events company sees great potential in Ocean Park's revamped offer — and is already gathering information to pitch to corporate clients.

Meanwhile, events management company BAM! believes the revamped park could be used for incentive programmes if, according to project manager Gemma Tsang, "they include hotel stays, as these are seen as more attractive and relevant to our corporate clients".

MCI Group general manager (Hong Kong & Macau), Olinto Oliveira, said the agency would consider Ocean Park's new offering only if it "adds value" and helps to achieve client objectives.

“We start our design process with our clients and always have the objective of the experience we create in mind," he said.

“The nature of business events is evolving, and more than ever, people want experiential and immersive experiences. What's important now is following specific health and safety rules to let the participants enjoy both the experience we create and venue where it is organised."

Ocean Park was forced to close for 237 days last year and is currently still closed due to ongoing restrictions.

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