Ocean Park today announced the results for its 2014/15 fiscal year that ended on 30 June 2015, during which the Park stayed focused on enhancing total guest experience while adjusting to a plethora of unfavourable external factors, ultimately recording its third-highest ever annual attendance and second-highest ever total revenue. About 7.4 million guests enjoyed the Ocean Park experience that was further enriched by the launch of a new world-class attraction with new animal ambassadors and educational messages. The Park concluded the fiscal year with HK$1,968.0 million in overall revenue, marginally lower than the record set during the previous fiscal year, and EBITDA of HK$582.3 million, while net surplus finished at HK$45.2 million. Regarding the much-anticipated Water World project, the project budget has been re-established at HK$2.9 billion to account for improvements to the facility’s exterior appearance, guest experience and environmentally friendly green features in accordance with enhanced design. The Park has made the necessary financing arrangement to top up funding for the project without the need for additional financial support from the Government.
The Park stayed diligent in enhancing its appeal and competitiveness by injecting new excitement, including the launch of a new attraction, Adventures in Australia, presented by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), in March 2015, which features southern koalas, red-necked wallabies, laughing kookaburras, as well as engaging interactive games and educational panels promoting Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS). The fiscal year also saw significant progress on the hotel and Water World projects, the beginning of the installation of a park-wide Wi-Fi network, and the start of a multi-year redevelopment of the existing kid’s zone, Whiskers Harbour. Ocean Park also received significant international, national and local accolades, such as being ranked second among the best theme parks in Asia by TripAdvisor; winning “Most Popular Theme Park” from the China Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (CAAPA); being voted a top-10 Hong Kong architecture most liked by the local public; and many more.
Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “This past year was truly a hard-earned triumph as we had to wrestle with different economic and industry forces, such as sustained slow growth in the United States and economic stagnation within Europe, as well as a noticeable slowdown in China. Unfavourable currency trends also eroded our competitiveness against other regional cities and affected tourist arrivals. Park management strategically diverted resources to entice local guests by capitalising on the launch of Adventures in Australia to drive attendance during the Easter period in 2015. Not only did the local public join us in welcoming the new attraction and animal ambassadors, they also responded enthusiastically to promotions catering specifically to the community, helping us achieve our second best ever May and fourth best ever June to give the fiscal year a strong finish. In reciprocation of the community’s loyal support, we gave away 10,000 admission tickets on our 38th anniversary. We also continued to maintain the largest portfolio of community care programmes among comparable theme parks worldwide, with over 470,000 Hong Kong residents having enjoyed complimentary or generously discounted admission, producing HK$140.0 million in benefit to society during the fiscal year. ”
Mr. Kung added, “The 2014/15 fiscal year was also marked by significant progress along our continuing transformation into an international destination resort, including the start of construction for both the Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel and the Water World. These initiatives will not only help strengthen Hong Kong’s destination appeal, but also contribute significantly to the local economy. The hotel project is expected to create approximately 3,500 employment positions during the construction phase and, upon completion, approximately 500 hospitality positions; whilst the Water World project is projected to create 2,900 jobs and add HK$842 million to the GDP by 2018.”
By taking additional time needed to arrive at the desired design of Water World, while ensuring the guiding principles of capacity and quality will be achieved, Ocean Park has significantly enhanced the project to deliver the very best guest experience. As a result, the project timeline has been adjusted to the second half of 2018 and the budget adjusted from HK$2.29 billion to HK$2.9 billion, accounting for the design enhancements as well as cost escalation in construction materials and labour. A funding arrangement of HK$650 million, which is sufficient to fund the new requirement of the Water World project, has been made without the need for any further financial support from the Government.
Besides placing efforts in improving guest experience, Ocean Park remains committed to supporting conservation and education. During the 2014/15 fiscal year, Ocean Park donated HK$13.3 million to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK), and offered some 1,600 education courses to over 53,000 local students ranging from kindergarten to senior secondary. Since the inception of the Park’s education programmes in 1992, close to 800,000 students have taken part in different courses to learn about conservation.
Mr. Kung concluded, “In light of the favourable response to the expression of interest exercise for the Fisherman’s Wharf hotel project, we will continue with the tender process during the coming year. This second hotel will be integral to the development of the Tai Shue Wan area, offering resort-style accommodations to vacationing families. The redevelopment of Whiskers Harbour will also kick into high gear when we appoint a lead architect and enter the detailed design phase of the project. As we look forward to the completion of these exciting projects, we will continue to present creative seasonal events to complement our world-class attractions, keeping every visit to Ocean Park as fresh and enriching as ever.