Ocean Park, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) and Speed Dating FEVER, today hosted HK Love Hub Speed Dating Event – Hong Kong’s first-ever large-scale multicultural speed dating event, marking a most romantic celebration of “Double Valentine’s”. With over 2,000 singles from Hong Kong and around the world vying to join the event, one out of ten female and one out of three male applicants were ultimately selected. Nearly 40% of applicants are between 25 and 29, making them the largest group by age.
After a meticulous matching process, a total of 288 of the most sought-after singles have been selected for the three-day event. The first group of 48 pairs of singles today took part in a series of engaging games and activities at various iconic and romantic attractions in Ocean Park.
Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, was joined by local celebrity Karena Ng at today’s event, both dressed as cheerleaders to help boost the confidence of the participating singles. Dr. Zeman said, “Ocean Park is excited by the overwhelming interest in Hong Kong’s largest-ever international speed dating event as we received over 2,000 applications, more than triple the number of applicants compared to last year. More exciting still is the opportunity to connect singles from different cultural backgrounds who share a love for animals. Thanks to the HKTB and the HKAA promoting the event overseas and at the airport respectively, we attracted over 200 singles from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other parts of the world.”
Dr. Zeman added, “Long favoured by locals for dating and proposing, Ocean Park is fully booked for our Valentine’s dinner tonight. Nevertheless, we have kept 20% of the tables open for walk-in guests. The Park helped organize marriage proposals for around ten pairs of lovers from 1 December 2013 to 10 February and we are helping a Mr. Hung propose to his girlfriend Ms. Lam today by arranging a diver to display a message of love inside the Grand Aquarium. Besides being a favourite destination for couples to date and propose, Ocean Park also hosts a great many wedding ceremonies and wedding banquets. We have unique restaurants and creative packages available to meet the different needs of marrying couples who love nature and conservation. With this being a favourable year for tying the knot, we expect to see an 8% increase in catering revenue, driven by a surge in wedding banquets.”
Mr. Frankie Wong, Managing Director of Speed Dating FEVER, said, “This year’s event attracted over 2,000 applicants from Hong Kong and around the world, with about 80% being female. Due to the limited spaces available, only one out of ten female applicants and one out of three male applicants could be selected after a meticulous matching process. This also shows that the gender imbalance is not limited to Hong Kong. Furthermore, singles increasingly look for speed dating events held at unique outdoor settings – and there is none as special as Ocean Park, given its beautiful natural setting and unique combination of adorable animals and exciting rides. For this international event, we selected participants by matching their preferences and dividing them into groups to create a good mix of different nationalities and ages. Many of the international applicants are foreign-born ethnic Chinese who prefer dating someone from Hong Kong because they have international perspective and embody Chinese family values.”
Mr. Wong added, “People are often concerned about finding someone with good looks before attending a speed dating event; however, once they have a chance to interact with each other, they end up falling for those with a charming personality. Similarly, language and cultural barriers are not as critical as people presumed when it comes to cross-cultural relationships. Shared interests and mutual respect are often more important to a lasting romance.”
As part of the event, Ocean Park and the Speed Dating FEVER jointly survey over 300 people on their views of Hong Kong as a romantic city and how they see foreigners as potential romantic partners. Nearly 60% of respondents consider Hong Kong a romantic city. The top factors behind the city’s romantic appeal were: its world-renowned nightscape, followed by the wide variety of international cuisines and Hong Kong people’s enthusiasm for celebrating seasonal festivals. Among the 25% of respondents who consider foreigners more suitable as partners, over 62% cited a greater degree of freedom in the relationship as the reason for their preference. Others like dating foreigners because they are “more romantic” (53%) or offer the opportunity to learn about another culture (41%).
Today’s 48 pairs of singles were divided into three groups, which took turns to participate in games and activities at different areas. Participants got to showcase their knowledge about animals by taking part in group quizzes at Amazing Asian Animals and Polar Adventure, and putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle to identify a rainforest animal. Sweetening the event, female participants competed to be the fastest at feeding their male partners a piece of tiramisu éclair at Aqua City Bakery. At Thrill Mountain, participants were challenged to take four specific exciting rides. They also had a chance to show off their knowledge of Ocean Park by trying to identify the most attractions from the top of Ocean Park Tower. Participants received points for completing a challenge and the top four cumulative point getters, two males and two females, will have a chance to pair up for a romantic dinner at Neptune’s Restaurant tonight.
The remaining 96 pairs of singles will take part in HK Love Hub Speed Dating Speed Event over the coming two days.