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Old November 18th, 2015, 08:07 AM   #121
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Outgoing Ocean Park chief confident it will ride high again
26 October 2015
The Standard Excerpt

Tom Mehrmann's 12-year ride as Ocean Park chief executive is coming to an end, and he believes he'll be leaving on a high.

Visitor numbers to the park were down for the Golden Week holiday, but the American is confident tourist arrivals will pick up " just like they did after the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Commenting on the growing resentment shown by some Hongkongers toward mainlanders " who contribute at least 50 percent of park revenue " Mehrmann said it is important to find a balance between pleasing both locals and visitors.

He witnessed the lowest ebb of the tourism industry during the deadly SARS outbreak when he signed a contract to lead the park which, he jokingly said, had only two visitors one day.

Ten years later Mehrmann saw the park reach a peak of 7.7 million visitors.

He said the main reason for the increase was the government decision to open the way for visits by mainlanders who still remain key in reversing the current dip in numbers. The continuous success of the park will be down to it being ``a uniquely Hong Kong experience.''

``If guests want a theme park with an American influence, I would be the first to send them to Disney,'' he said.

Mehrmann " who opted not to renew his contract that expires on July 31 next year " believes Hong Kong will continue to be competitive in the global tourism market.

``The food, people, city life to country life, and the pulse and energy'' will also see him staying here for the foreseeable future.

He said the magic of running a successful theme park is to keep opening new attractions, with his own personal favorite being the classic cable car from where he can get a panoramic view of the city he calls his second home.
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Old January 10th, 2016, 06:34 AM   #122
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Cost of Water World project at Hong Kong's Ocean Park soars by 26pc to HK$2.9 billion
26 November 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

The cost of Ocean Park's new water park has soared by 26 per cent to almost HK$3 billion - the latest setback for the theme park amid a sharp downturn in Hong Kong tourism.

Ocean Park bosses said yesterday a funding arrangement had been made to cover the HK$650 million overrun on the all-weather Water World project without seeking further funds from the government.

It was announced this month the project's scheduled completion date had been put back from 2017 until the second half of 2018. It will now cost HK$2.9 billion.

Ocean Park said the need for extra funding was due to change of design and escalating costs for building materials and labour.

The design has involved more greening elements and incorporation of a structure built along the theme park's hillside.

In the latest Legislative Council document submitted by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the park remains obliged to repay HK$2.29 billion in government loans by 2021. The latest arrangement has also been approved by the government's financial consultant.

The project is expected to create 2,900 jobs and add HK$842 million to the city's economy.
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Old February 5th, 2016, 04:50 AM   #123
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Sino Land, Walter Kwok consortium win Ocean Park hotel tender
Feb. 4, 2016
Hong Kong Economic Journal Excerpt

Sino Land Co. Ltd. (00083.HK) and a consortium led by former Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (00016.HK) chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung jointly won a tender for the development of The Fullerton Hotel at Ocean Park, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported on Thursday.

The tender result still needs the approval of the Town Planning Board, which will assess the joint venture’s development plan. The decision will be announced in August.

Sino Land and Empire Group Holdings Ltd., Kwok’s flagship holding company, own 60 percent and 40 percent of the joint venture company, respectively. They have pledged to invest an estimated HK$3 billion in the project.

The hotel, located in Tai Shue Wan and formerly known as Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel, gives the developers an operating right of 35 years.
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Old March 16th, 2016, 03:59 PM   #124
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Hong Kong's Ocean Park goes digital in bid to attract visitors amid tourism gloom
16 March 2016
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Ocean Park is rolling out new digital services in a bid to attract more international visitors amid the downturn in mainland tourists coming to Hong Kong.

In February, the theme park began offering free Wi-fi in partnership with Hong Kong Broadband Network as well as an upgraded mobile application that provides virtual tours of attractions. The digital revamps cost the park more than HK$10 million.

The park also collaborated with board game Monopoly to introduce an animal discovery feature available from Saturday. It will last until mid-April. It includes an activity called "Animal Monopoly", which invites visitors to do a real-life treasure hunt in the park. There are also more interactive exhibits on animal conservation.

"Southeast Asia is another key part of our market. But clearly mainland tourists are [still] our largest source market," park chief executive Tom Mehrmann said. "We want to continue to make it more convenient and easier for them to visit. And I think these [new programmes] will do."

Visits from mainland tour groups to the park suffered a double-digit fall during the recent Lunar New Year holiday. The park saw a 14 per cent drop in overall attendance last year.

Mehrmann said the park had good attendance from tourists from countries like South Korea, the Philippines and Japan. Meanwhile, locals now represent around 30 per cent of visitors, which was "quite good, based on experience from other theme parks," said chairman Leo Kung Lin-Cheng.

With a new MTR station expected to open at the end of this year, Kung said they were planning to invest more in events, games and facilities as "a continuous revolution" to attract more international tourists while keeping local ones from leaving.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 07:30 PM   #125
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Cable Car moving forward to the adventure land, Ocean Park, Hong Kong by Anil Bisht, on Flickr
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