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$5.5b plan to revamp Ocean Park is unveiled
More animals and rides will bring in tourists and 'complement Disney'

Carrie Chan
19 March 2005
South China Morning Post

Ocean Park has unveiled plans for a $5.5 billion revamp, financed by private and government loans, to turn it into a world-class attraction.

Presenting the two-stage plan yesterday, chairman Allan Zeman said the park did not aim to compete with soon-to-open Disneyland but to complement it.

The proposal has been handed to Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, who heads a taskforce reviewing tourism development in southern Hong Kong, but the government has not said whether it will offer loans for the project.

Tourism Commissioner Eva Cheng Yu-wah said the government supported the plan in principle but there was no timeline on when a final decision would be made.

If the reconstruction goes ahead, work will start in 2006. The first stage would be due for completion in 2008 and the second in 2010, with the park staying open throughout. An extra 33 animal species would be brought in and the number of rides doubled to 70.

"We are not trying to 'outdo Disney' but rather complement it," Mr Zeman said yesterday. "It's a sea-world type park with animals; Disney doesn't have animals." The park is banking on an eventual rail link as part of the MTR Corp's proposed southern line. Mr Zeman said it could survive without the railway, but he advised the government to build the link.

Three new hotels providing 1,200 to 1,500 rooms, are not included in the $5.5 billion and outside partners will be sought for these. It is estimated that about 17,700 construction jobs would be created by the work.

The park's operators say the project would boost annual visitor numbers from last year's 4.3 million to 5 million by 2010 and kick-start the government's plan to transform the nearby Aberdeen area into a Fishermen's Wharf attraction.

They say the park would bring economic benefits of $145 billion over 40 years and make a 0.5 per cent contribution to gross domestic product.

Half the visitors are expected to be from the mainland, 40 per cent local and the rest from overseas.

Mr Zeman said the rate of return should be 16 per cent, based on the assumption of raised admission fees. Although the fees would be increased they would be less than Disney's for at least five years.

Ocean Park's current admission fee for an adult is $185. Disney's will be $295 per head on weekdays and $350 on special days.

Mr Zeman said there might be a drop in attendance initially after Disney's September opening but he was confident about the park's future "with all the tourists coming from China". He said it was too early to discuss collaboration with Disneyland.

Although it was former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa who had persuaded him to try to save the park two years ago, Mr Zeman said he did not think Mr Tung's sudden departure would affect the plan.

"There has been a good response from [acting Chief Executive] Donald [Tsang Yam-kuen] and Henry [Tang]," he said.

A Hong Kong Disneyland spokeswoman said Disney did not see more intense competition from the revamped Ocean Park. The two parks would bring more family tourists to Hong Kong.


IT’S TIME… The New Ocean Park to be the World’s Best Marine-Based Theme Park
18 March 2005 Press Release

The Waterfront, The Summit, Aqua City, Birds of Paradise, Whiskers Harbour, Marine World, The Rainforest, Thrill Mountain, Polar Adventure, Polar Bears, Penguins, Killer Whales. Sharks, Sea lions, Walruses, Manta Rays, Snow, Bobsled Roller Coasters, Aquariums, Under Water Restaurant, 3d/4d Simulator, Resort Hotels, Cable Car, High-speed train, Treehouse Village, Thrill Rides….

…..Twice as many attractions by 2010! Expecting more than 37,000(1) new jobs and 0.5%(1) contribution to the GDP

(Hong Kong, March 18, 2005) Ocean Park today announced a redevelopment master plan* to redevelop the park into the world’s best marine-based theme park, doubling the amount of attractions and firmly establishing itself as a world-class, must-see destination that will further strengthen Hong Kong as a premier tourist destination.

Ocean Park is a home grown and valuable asset of Hong Kong with a rich 28-year heritage of providing education, lessons in conservation and entertainment for a staggering 70 million visitors and is beloved by Hong Kong residents and international visitors alike.

The estimated HKD 5.55 billion(2) redevelopment which is targeted to commence in 2006 and be completed in 2010 will transform the existing park into a spectacular, marine-based theme park with an amazing 33 new species of animals, connecting people with nature and offering a plethora of breathtaking attractions unparalleled anywhere else in the world. An expected above 5 million visitors per year by 2010(1) will be able to access the park via various transport options including the proposed MTR South Island Line.

“For the past 28 years, Ocean Park has delighted, stimulated and created enormous joy for its millions of visitors from around the world. We are proud to announce the next stage in the park’s development that will see it grow into a landmark destination, becoming the pride of Hong Kong as one of the top theme parks in the world,” said Allan Zeman, Chairman, Ocean Park.

The new Ocean Park will be divided into two major areas - The Waterfront, formerly the Lowland and The Summit, formerly the Headland - featuring more than 70 distinctive attractions.

The Waterfront will be divided into three themed zones: Aqua City, which will house the spectacular new Ocean Park Grand Aquarium complex; Birds of Paradise, a lush tropical haven for a wide variety of avian wonders; and Whiskers Harbour, a playful port of call for families where Ocean Park’s signature characters will welcome guests.

Towering 150 meters above sea level, The Summit will offer breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s southern shores, Aberdeen and neighboring islands. Terraced levels sculptured into the hillside will showcase animals and entertainment from four different global climate zones: Marine World, the Rainforest, Thrill Mountain and Polar Adventure.

Not-to-be missed natural attractions within the new Ocean Park will include the Killer Whale Stadium, an enormous, seashell-shaped air conditioned building with 5000 seats where visitors can view a dramatic Killer Whale show; the Penguin Glacier where penguins slip and slide to the delight of visitors; Polar Bear Cove, the home of enormous and adorable polar bears; Swim with Dolphins where visitors can don wetsuits and come nose-to-nose with the friendly mammals; and Shark Encounter in Aqua City where visitors can enter a protective cage to watch sharks being fed.

Visitors will be dazzled by 12 new animal and entertainment shows including the live-action Typhoon Stunt Show in the Rainforest area that combines the best of Hong Kong movie making, Wushu martial art stunt fighting and Hollywood special effects, and tremble at the exhilaration of Everest, the ultimate rollercoaster found at Thrill Mountain.

Ocean Park’s signature mode of transport, the stunning cable car, will be rebuilt and visitors will also have the option of riding the Summit Express, a funicular train that will whisk visitors through a tunnel at high speed to The Summit, or back to The Waterfront in a matter of minutes.

The new Ocean Park will be developed in phases, allowing for the park to be kept open during the redevelopment period with animals and their habitats kept to a high standard and new entertainment and animal programs continually introduced. The redevelopment is expected to create 37,100 jobs by 2022(1) and the completed park will contribute 0.5% to Hong Kong’s overall GDP by 2010(1).

The Ocean Park redevelopment master plan also includes a proposal for the development of three hotels to neighbour the park. The hotel development is not essential in driving the new Ocean Park, but will add additional appeal to the overall proposal and will be key to boosting the area as a premier tourist destination.

“We believe the new Ocean Park will not only provide nature, conservation and education, but it will also be a catalyst for the development of the Aberdeen Tourism Project, kick starting an exciting revival of the south side of the island,” commented Zeman.

Ocean Park is a not-for-profit organization, 100 percent wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government and is expected to remain so under the new proposal. The Ocean Park redevelopment should not require any Government subsidies or grants but is expected to be funded by a combination of government and commercial loans.

Note: *The redevelopment master plan is a conceptual plan only and includes details and specifics known at this time. The details and specifics may contain estimates and may be subject to change.

(1) All economic and financial projections have been provided by Economic Research Associates based on its independent research effort, its general knowledge of the industry and consultations with Ocean Park, as well as information provided by Professional Property Services Limited and MTR Corporation

(2) The estimated costs are based on a costing exercise undertaken by Ocean Park’s consultants following appropriate consultations with Ocean Park.

About Ocean Park

Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique homegrown theme park. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organisation, Ocean Park has built itself to be a world-class attraction. Over 60 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park offers adults and children entertainment blended with education and conservation facilities
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Ocean Park hikes ticket prices 20pc
2 July 2009
The Standard

Ocean Park yesterday announced a 20 percent increase in ticket prices on the same day Disneyland increased its fees for local visitors.

Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman said the second price increase in two years is necessary to finance a HK$5.5 billion redevelopment project and to pay the interest.

The Disney hike came despite a forthcoming HK$3.5 billion injection from its parent company.

Beginning on August 1, an adult ticket for Ocean Park will go up from HK$208 to HK$250, while that for children will increase from HK$103 to HK$125.

The gold smartfun annual pass will now cost HK$695 for an adult against the previous HK$628, while a child will pay HK$350 instead of HK$313.

Those receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance need to pay only HK$20.

``We're not for profit, but if we don't increase the prices we are going to lose money,'' Zeman said.

Inbound Travel Association chairman Paul Leung Yiu-lam said Ocean Park's move was inexplicable.

``The trade has hit rock bottom, and we are in discussion with hotels, airlines and restaurants on possible reductions. How come Ocean Park is going the opposite way and not helping us get through these hard times?'' Leung asked.

He warned that some agents would make Ocean Park an optional attraction or be forced out of business if the market cannot absorb the increased cost.

Democratic Party lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming said the Ocean Park expansion is being funded by the government.

He also feared the increase would adversely impact the tourism industry and the public's interest in visiting the park.

Zeman insisted that even after the price adjustment, Ocean Park was still among the cheapest in world and at least HK$100 cheaper than Hong Kong's Disneyland, with a lot more attractions.

Disneyland yesterday raised its admission prices for Hong Kong residents from HK$295 to HK$350 for adults, and from HK$210 to HK$250 for children. Tourists have been charged these prices since February.

The government on Tuesday announced a deal had been reached with The Walt Disney Company on plans to add three more themed areas _ Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land _ and 30 attractions over five years.

The expansion will cost HK$3.63 billion with most of the money coming from Disney.

The Hong Kong government will convert a substantial part of its loan _ about HK$6.25 billion _ to equity, and see its share reduced from 57 percent to 52 percent.

The Legislative Council panel on economic development will discuss the expansion this Saturday.

Panel member Paul Chan Mo-po said he hoped Disney would be more open with its disclosures.

``I want to have a more concrete idea of what Disney is going to disclose, no more guessing games,'' Chan said.
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Ocean Park, a whimsical wonderland
13 May 2009
The Jakarta Post

If Hong Kong is one of the destinations at the top of your priority list, then Ocean Park is a recommended, must-see attraction.

The premier park in Hong Kong offers a mix of entertainment, educational and conversational facilities. There are over 40 major attractions in the park, something for everyone, regardless of age. And from the estimated of over three millions visitors each year, the 28-year-old, 870,000-square-meter park is set to continue making its mark for many years to come.

The park was built from donations made by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club and is operated by Ocean Park Corporation, a statutory board and a non-profit organization offering affordable marine animal education and entertainment. The park lies between Aberdeen and Repulse Bay and comprises two sections: the Lowland in the Lowland Gardens, where the main entrance is, and the Headland at the Marine land.

In the Lowland is the Giant Panda Habitat, arguably the premier draw for Ocean Park since its opening on May 18, 1999, with an area of 2,000 square meters. After all, how many parks offer the chance to witness, live, one of the most endangered species in the world?

The state-of-the-art enclosure is a huge room, with a towering ceiling. It consists of three levels of guardrails for people to stand along and is especially designed to mimic the real-life habitat of the remote, mountainous region of Southern China. The enclosure is appropriately 30 degrees, steeply sloped, and even has misting equipment installed to keep the humidity up and air cool, to emulate the high altitude environment. The two stars of the attraction, pandas Gia-Gia and An-An by name, are a 22-year-old mother of four cubs and a 14-year-old male, respectively. They were a gift bestowed by the central government of China to the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.

Amid clumps of vegetation, one of the two pandas was sighted half-heartedly munching great armfuls of cut bamboo, their diet of choice. Then, as if sensing an audience, Gia-Gia or An-An - I could not tell the difference - walked, sometimes rolled, on the grass, its nose poking curiously into nooks and crannies. The other panda was assumed to be sleeping behind the strategically placed rocks, some of which are faux.

There is also the Goldfish Pagoda, with 100 varieties of Chinese and Japanese goldfish of all shapes, sizes and colors; the Butterfly House, with hundreds of delicate free-flying insects; the Dinosaur Trail with its 17 life-like dinosaur models including a giant T-Rex near the exit; The Dolphin University, Caverns and Darkness 3D and the Amazing Amazon. The Lowland is also geared toward the young ones in Kids' World, which includes kiddy rides, playgrounds, remote-control cars and boats, and a shooting game arcade.

To cross over to the Headland, one must take the 1.5 km long cable car, one of the park's many popular highlights. The eight-minute ride transports visitors to and fro between the two sections, passing over mountains and offering a spectacular panoramic view of the rocky coastline of the southern part of Hong Kong Island and the South China Sea. It is amazing that it could be so quiet and peaceful up in the cable car. The sight of the lush, verdant hills below and the sea, spreading undulatingly across the endless horizon like a thin sheet of glass under the glaring sun, also creates valuable opportunities to take scenic photographs.

Upon entering the Atoll Reef, one of the world's largest aquariums and the most popular attraction of Marine Land, one is mesmerized by the splendor of the mysterious beautiful underwater world that unfolds in front of visitors. The Reef is a three-pier aquarium with observation passageway at different depths and angles for various views. It exhibits more than 2,000 fish from 250 species, including an 80-year-old, six foot long giant grouper! It also boasts the largest number of Napoleon fish to be found in any aquarium in the world.

A short travelator, Asia's first underwater viewing tunnel, takes visitors down under the arch-bottom of the Shark Aquarium tank, of which the smaller size certainly lacks none of the Reef's grandeur. It is the place to come face-to-face with more than 70 sharks and rays from over 35 species. It is thrilling as the impressively streamlined-body of a shark, about four meters long, slithered past on my left side, with the specially designed glass as the only barrier between us. Among these sharks, over 11 splendid species are especially cared for through Ocean Park's very own captive breeding program, including the black tip reef shark and the rare pygmy swell shark.

One should not miss the Ocean Theater, which features live shows by talented dolphins and sea lions. Music rocked through loudspeakers and a female DJ welcomed the audience. It was heartening to watch the sea lions jumping up and down the platforms, their wet flippers hanging over at their sides. The sea lions were so impressive when they balanced the balls using only the tips of their noses. They were rightfully rewarded for their efforts with fish thrown to them by their trainers, and hearty applause from the audience.

A trainer threw several life preservers into the training pool, which was separated from the audience by a low fence of clear transparent plastic panels. The dolphins raced against one another to dive expertly under the water before rising out with the life preservers secured around their necks. The audience sat on higher ground around the half-circular concrete staircase, to prevent being splashed by water over the plastic panels.

The Headland has many adult rides too, and these are definitely not for the faint-hearted. Some rides are restricted to riders standing at 1.5m and above, for safety reasons. Thrill-seekers will have their appetite more than satisfied by the park's offerings. The Dragon roller coaster is highly recommended. It sets the pulse running and adrenaline pumping with flips through its famous twists and loops, including two 360 degrees somersaults - one small and one giant, at a hurricane speed of 77km per hour, covering a total length of 842 meters in just 2.5 minutes. It is the ride of a lifetime and will leave the rider breathless, screaming for more!

Lastly there are the Abyss turbo drop and Crazy Galleon. The latter is a 26-meter-long pirate ship, which, in full swing, can reach up to a height of 20 meters. It gives the impression as if you are falling from a great height, your heart being "sucked down" by gravity. The Abyss uses the same trick, leaving riders feeling glad to have their feet back on the ground.

If you speculate that Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened to the world on Sept. 12, 2005, will soon surpass Ocean Park, think again. A redevelopment master plan is under way to fully refurbish Ocean Park. This aims to turn it into the world's best marine-based park, a world-class, must-see destination that is bound to give Disneyland a run for its money.

In the next few years, some HK$5.55 billion will be spent on installing 100 new rides and doubling the number of current attractions, including a funicular train for transportation from the Waterfront (formerly the Lowland) to the Summit (formerly the Headland). It will also introduce several new animal shows and even an area featuring polar bears. The park will expand to almost twice its present size. To accommodate growing visitors, there will also be a South Island Line to link the current subway system with Ocean Park and the south of Hong Kong Island.

Only time will tell which will emerge the winner, but with so much promise yet to come, it looks like Ocean Park is here to stay.
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Zeman expected to serve another 3 years as Ocean Park chairman
25 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Entrepreneur Allan Zeman is expected to serve as Ocean Park chairman for three more years.

He was supposed to step down next month after holding the post for six years.

Core officials of statutory bodies normally follow a so-called "six-six rule" - a government guideline that discourages them from assuming more than six public roles at one time, or working in one job for more than six years.

Mr Zeman, whose contract will end this month, took over as the theme park's chairman in 2003. He confirmed yesterday that the government had approached him recently about serving another term.

"I treat it as a full-time job and it gives me a lot of satisfaction," Mr Zeman said. "I do feel it's my park."

Mr Zeman has managed to boost the park's visitor numbers and generate record profits despite intense competition from Hong Kong Disneyland.

He said bringing the park's expansion plan in on budget and making each attraction world-class would be his priorities if reappointed.

A source said the government would soon announce the appointment. There have been many exemptions to the six-six rule, depending on the circumstances.

Ocean Park board member Simon Ip Shing-hing said he had not yet been told who would be chairman but would be pleased if Mr Zeman stayed.

"The park's expansion project will only finish broadly by 2012, which is three years from now, so if Mr Zeman could stay, the project would be manned by someone who is familiar with it and that is a good thing," Mr Ip said.

Mr Ip, who joined the board about two years ago, said Mr Zeman had always been a hard-working and passionate chairman.

Tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun also supported Mr Zeman staying, saying the six-six rule was not a binding regulation.
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Ocean Park's shy red pandas prepare to live in public gaze
24 April 2009
South China Morning Post

The four red pandas at Ocean Park are learning to live in the public gaze as the theme park prepares to open its new attraction on Thursday.

The four pandas arrived from Sichuan last month and were moved to the Amazing Asian Animals exhibit four days ago after spending a month in quarantine.

Howard Chuk Hau-chung, the park's senior curator, said yesterday that the pandas were adapting well to the new environment. He spotted them marking their territory on the walls with their body smell.

"Only when they find a place good and comfortable will they mark it with their scent," he explained.

The fluffy animals, which resemble raccoons more than giant pandas, have been rubbing their bottoms on the walls to leave their scent.

To help the red pandas adapt to different types of sounds, trainers have tried raising their voices and clapping their hands to check the reaction of the animals.

The pandas were also encouraged with apples, their favourite snack, to visit different corners of the theme park's new exhibit.

"We hope they build up confidence through the training. Their species is kind of shy," he said.

Before the attraction opens, staff will play the role of tourists to help the pandas adapt to visitors.

The curator gave tips on how the public could distinguish the four animals - Tai Shan, Rou Rou, Cong Cong and Li Zi.

The males, Tai Shan and Cong Cong, are bigger than their female counterparts. Cong Cong's hair is shinier and redder, and he is braver than Tai Shan, who looks cautious when he moves around. Rou Rou has a distinctive posture: tilting her head when looking at her trainers. Li Zi has a face that resembles a chestnut.

Meanwhile, pandas Le Le and Ying Ying have also moved into the new exhibit. The Amazing Asian Animals attraction will also be home to Chinese giant salamanders, Chinese alligators, otters, birds and turtles.
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By KCLee from dclifehk :

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I've always liked Ocean Park, if only for the simple reason you can see my secondary school from there :D
Ocean Park's Panda Attraction
By tattooman from a Hong Kong photography forum :

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Ocean Park urged to cut height of hotel
Planning Department suggests further changes

19 December 2008
South China Morning Post

Ocean Park has been urged to further reduce the height of its proposed Ocean Hotel, one of three new hotels that form part of its massive expansion project.

Plans for the hotel have been criticised by planners and architects, who say it will damage the surrounding natural environment.

The theme park will seek Town Planning Board approval tomorrow for its proposal to build three hotels - Fisherman's Wharf Hotel, the Spa Hotel and Ocean Hotel - with the first two sitting on the headland and the last one at the park's entrance.

The park said last month that it would cut the height of the Ocean Hotel from 17 storeys to eight to address public concerns over its impact on the surrounding area. But the Planning Department said there was still scope to reduce the overall building height and minimise the visual impact without reducing the gross floor area.

"In terms of storeys, the reduction is about 50 per cent, but the actual reduction in absolute building height (measured from the ground floor), from about 60 metres to 40 metres, is only about 33 per cent," the Planning Department says in a paper submitted to the board.

Sandwiched between Shouson Hill and Brick Hill, also called Nam Long Shan, the Ocean Hotel site is surrounded by medium-rise developments mixed with green and open spaces. The Hong Kong Country Club to its south is no higher than 27 metres and the residential development on Shouson Hill is low density.

The Architectural Services Department said the hotels should be visually compatible with their surroundings, while the Planning Department said the proposed Ocean Hotel was solid, formalistic and monolithic. Efforts should be made to soften its hard lines so that it could blend in better.

The Planning Department said it would not object to the proposal but it should be approved with conditions, including revision of the Ocean Hotel's height, submission of the revised visual impact assessment and a tree preservation scheme.

Carolyn Fong Wai-lyn, the co-chairman of the Southern District Sustainable Development Group, challenged the park's mitigation measures, including planting rows of trees to minimise the visual impact.

"I don't believe the graphic released by Ocean Park," she said. "I don't think the trees will be eight storeys high. I doubt such trees can be found in Hong Kong."

The pressure group said the hotels were against the park's principles of conservation and education, and urged the park to move them to urban areas in Wong Chuk Hang.

Ms Fong said the park had already removed trees on the headland to carry out its expansion plans.

A park spokeswoman said work on the headland was for a new project comprising the Thrill Mountain, Rainforest and Polar Adventure attractions. "It is just a transitional period; trees will be replanted when construction is completed," she said.
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Don't develop Ocean Park at the expense of Wong Chuk Hang
16 June 2008
South China Morning Post

I urge the government to take a co-ordinated approach to the development of the tourism potential of Southern District. There should be a grand vision for the area instead of allowing the existing haphazard development of hotels.

As an example, I would like to cite Ocean Park's proposed hotel development. It wants to build three hotels with a total of more than 1,000 rooms. To allow this would be irrational, because:

It is not Ocean Park's business as a theme park operator to be in real estate;

It would hinder the regeneration of Wong Chuk Hang, barely 15 minutes away, as the tourism hub for hotels and other ancillary services; and

It is damaging to the environment if a precious, low-density greenfield site is built on.

Ocean Park has an unfair advantage in the development of hotels as the government provides its land free. Developers who have to pay for land are being slow to convert existing obsolete buildings in Wong Chuk Hang into hotels, as they are wary of the competition with the theme park. The result is that taxpayers are subsiding Ocean Park's hotel projects while losing revenue on the premiums that could have been achieved on a regenerated Wong Chuk Hang. Ocean Park should focus on developing the land it was given into a park that blends with the environment and therefore contribute to the tourism appeal of the district. Apart from contradicting the strategy of urban renewal for Wong Chuk Hang, a hotel development would conflict with the area's low-density character.

One of Hong Kong's prime tourist attractions is a pleasant coach drive from Aberdeen tunnel exit, covering the bays and beaches all the way to Stanley. The presence of more concrete among the lush greenery and blue waters would diminish the uniqueness of this drive.

What we need is the rejuvenation of Wong Chuk Hang into an area for hotels, serviced apartments, shopping, restaurants and other attractions. The development of a lively nightlife along the lines of Lan Kwai Fong should be encouraged. Office and high-density residential development should follow.

C. P. Ng, chairman, Southern District Sustainable Development Group
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Ocean Park may put off price rise until after summer holidays
24 July 2009
South China Morning Post

Ocean Park may delay by two months a proposed 20 per cent increase on ticket prices after park chairman Allan Zeman said it could afford the loss of HK$22 million.

With many households tightening budgets amid the downturn, legislators yesterday challenged Mr Zeman about the need to raise ticket prices to HK$250 for adults and HK$125 for children from August 1.

Ocean Park board members must approve the proposed delay in the ticket price increase.

"If we're talking about a couple of months - to October - I would imagine it's an impact of about HK$11 million per month. The park can handle it in the present situation. If it's something like that, I can probably give a commitment to try to get it down because obviously, from my own side, I don't have a problem with it," he said.

League of Social Democrats lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip put a non-binding motion opposing the increase, which was passed on four votes to two, with two abstentions.

Ocean Park has raised ticket prices seven times since 1996, when adult admission increased by HK$10 to HK$140 and child tickets rose from HK$65 to HK$70. Since Mr Zeman became park chairman in mid-2003, there have been three price rises, amounting to 39 per cent.

About 80 per cent of visitors did not pay full price, through social programmes and concessions, he said.

Charging visitors more now is needed to pay off loans and interest expenses relating to its redevelopment plan. Three loans need to be repaid, starting in 2011 with a commercial loan of more than HK$2.77 billion and ending in 2031 with a HK$1.39 billion government loan at 5 per cent interest a year.

From 2012, when the plan was expected to be completed, the loan and annual interest payments were estimated to total about HK$300 million.
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HK Ocean Park defers price hike plan

HONG KONG, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Ocean Park has decided to defer raising its entrance fees and the new charges will come into effect on Oct. 5, according to a press release Xinhua received on Tuesday.

The decision came after the park's board of directors met on late Monday.

The park announced earlier this month that it will raise its entrance fee by 20 percent starting from Aug. 1 which incurred grumbles from the society.

Ocean Park Chairman Allan Zeman said the move was inevitable as more attractions will be completed and the cost of operation kept increasing.

Zeman expected the park to receive 40 million HK dollars (about 5.2 million U.S. dollars) less in this fiscal year due to the deferral of price hike.

The single ticket for adults will cost 250 HK dollars, compared with the current 208 HK dollars while the child ticket will rise by 22 HK dollars to 125 HK dollars.

In terms of the annual pass, the fee will be up 67 HK dollars to 695 HK dollars for adults and 37 HK dollars up to 350 HK dollars for children.

Meanwhile, children younger than three years old and elders aged above 65 will still have free access to the park.

As one of Hong Kong's leading theme parks, Ocean Park received 5.03 million visitors in 2008 and the park has seen rising number of visitors and revenue level in the last five years.
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Bay dolphins enjoy new home
3 August 2009
The Herald

PORT Elizabeth dolphins Domino and Dumisa are settling down well in their new Hong Kong home, where they are enjoying a bigger, more intricately shaped pool, plenty of company and some unusual treats.

Responding to questions from The Herald, Bayworld senior curator Robyn Greyling said the dolphins seemed happy and healthy.

“They are eating the same amounts as when they were in Bayworld’s facilities and their behaviour is also normal.

“I look for changes in their normal behaviour and so far they have been good and pretty much as they were back home,” she said yesterday.

“We also monitor the number of times they breathe in a five-minute period. This is one of the ways we can measure if they are slightly stressed or anxious. So far they are still in the lower range of the normal counts.”

Having grown up in a single pool at Bayworld measuring 30m long by 20m wide, the animals are now in a complex of three pools leading into each other, ranging between 15m by 15m and 17m by 19m in size.

“During their 30 days of quarantine, they will be watched closely for any slight changes in eating patterns, swimming patterns or behaviours that might indicate a health issue,” she explained. “At this time, both dolphins are doing well and exploring the pool, interacting with me and becoming acquainted with their Ocean Park trainers.

“In addition to the time spent with the trainers, they spend time on their own, as well as with a variety of enrichment items from inner tubes to balls to ice with food items inside.”

Asked about pollution of the ocean around Hong Kong and how this affected the supply to Ocean Park’s tanks, zoological operations and education executive director Suzanne Gendron said water quality varied from no pollution to very high, depending which waters were sampled.

“Deep Water Bay from where we draw our water has a popular swimming beach and the water quality is very good. The same water has been the source of life for the 3600 fishes and marine mammals of Ocean Park since 1977.”
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Half-price tickets for August birthdays
7 August 2009
South China Morning Post

In a last-minute concession, Ocean Park has cut the price of admission by half from today until the end of the month for anyone whose birthday falls in August.

The move comes after a 20 per cent price rise due to start on August 1 was postponed until October 5 after lawmakers questioned the need for higher prices when many households were financially strapped.

Ocean Park said this month's promotion was to mark the birthdays of four-year-old giant pandas Le Le and Ying Ying.

Although city residents continue to enjoy free entry to Ocean Park on their birthdays, this month's promotion applies to everyone, including overseas and mainland visitors.

Admission is normally priced at HK$208 for adults and HK$103 for children, meaning the promotional prices this month are HK$104 and HK$51.50. After the increase, the new prices will be HK$250 and HK$125.

The summer months, including August, are a peak period for Ocean Park. But the global economic crisis and fears over the spread of human swine flu have put a significant dent in the number of tourists and visitors this year.

Attendance for the year to June 30 dipped some 5 per cent to about 4.78 million from 5.03 million a year ago.

According to tourism data, the number of visitors fell 3.4 per cent in the first half of this year to just under 13.7 million compared to a year ago. Preliminary figures for July and August are not promising.
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Aberdeen, Hong Kong

The project consists of four lands :- Polar Adventure; Thrill Mountain; Rainforest and Marine World. When completed it will double the size of the Ocean Park's current facilities.
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Half the visitors are expected to be from the mainland, 40 per cent local and the rest from overseas.
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