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Ocean Park Welcomes New Chapter in Conservation and Edutainment with Year of Resounding Achievements

2010-11-24

(24 November 2010, Hong Kong) Prof. Hon Patrick Lau Sau-shing SBS, JP tabled Ocean Park’s 2009/2010 annual report, ending 30 June 2010, at today’s Legislative Council (Legco) meeting. Prof. Lau reported that Ocean Park, as a home-grown world-leading theme park and major pillar of tourism in Hong Kong, completed yet another extraordinary year as it welcomed a total of 5.1 million guests, setting a new attendance record for the sixth time in seven years. Facing last year’s challenges with a prudent and positive attitude, the Park was able to accomplish gratifying results on the strength of ever-creative seasonal events and the performance of new attractions under its HK$5.55 billion Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP).

An Ocean Park Board member and a member of the Legislative Council, Prof. Lau said the park recorded HK$986.6 million in total revenue and HK$235.8 million in EBITDA, while net surplus was at a favourable HK$82.0 million. Maintaining a healthy financial status, Ocean Park will continue to prepare for loan repayment to commercial lenders, which will commence in 2011.

Prof. Lau reported that as Ocean Park develops into a world leader among ocean-themed attractions, it continues to live up to its role as Hong Kong’s People’s Park by offering a wide range of Corporate Social Responsibility programmes that benefit members of the community with free or generously-discounted admission. Last year, the Park expanded eligibility for discounted admission to include the over 480,000 recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). In total, Ocean Park maintained 13 community care programmes, with over 350,000 beneficiaries and a total benefit to the community worth HK$85.0 million in the fiscal year 2009/10. In addition, Ocean Park supports a number of programmes that offer training and employment opportunities to disadvantaged young people, thus encouraging them to contribute to society now and in the future.

Prof. Lau also reported on the significant progress and performance of the Park’s MRP, which already resulted in an expansion of full-time staff size by more than 60% and will continue to contribute employment and economic benefits to the local economy well beyond its eventual completion. Amazing Asian Animals, which opened in April 2009, promptly became the third most popular attraction zone in the Park. In September 2009, Ocean Park celebrated the launch of Ocean Express, a new in-park transportation infrastructure system that dramatically transformed guest access to their favourite rides, attractions, restaurants and shops.

To strengthen its conservation education platform, Ocean Park launched the Emperors of the Sky presentation of various birds of prey in December 2009 and opened the new Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration in June 2010. The Park continues to channel substantial resources for conservation initiatives through its conservation arm, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong. In this past fiscal year, the Foundation received HK$8.2 million from Ocean Park and supported 25 conservation projects worldwide on 17 species, including a project to plant 160,000 bamboo seedlings in Sichuan to rehabilitate nearly 5,000 hectares of bamboo plantation for giant pandas.

The Hotel Development Project is proceeding smoothly as tenders for the Ocean Hotel and Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel are under review and details will be shared with the public once an award has been made. With mainland China visitors accounting for nearly 53% of overall attendance, Ocean Park further strengthened its presence in the Mainland by opening an office in Beijing, its third representative office in the Mainland, and by conducting trade and media visits to key cities, such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Changsha. Other major source markets that the Park visited last year include Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and India.

To promote the global theme park and edutainment industry, the Park launched its World Attraction Fun Deal – the world’s first ever reciprocal admission discount programme for theme parks, zoos and aquariums. Park guests enjoy discounted admission to a growing list of major attractions in Asia and North America, while Hong Kong benefits from increased tourist traffic to the city.

Prof. Lau reported that over 46,000 students took part in the interactive and engaging courses offered by the Ocean Park Academy, Hong Kong over the past year, bringing the total number of students that have benefited from Ocean Park’s educational programmes since 1992 to well over half a million. Among the new offerings introduced this past year was a course on Sustainable Seafood, which teaches students about the relative sustainability of various seafood items and how local seafood eating culture and fishing methods affect the marine ecosystem.

Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “We are proud to have achieved so much this past year in terms of connecting our guests with nature and contributing to the local tourism economy. Thanks to the unwavering support of the people of Hong Kong, as well as our guests from mainland China and around the world, a robust positive growth in attendance was achieved as we recover strongly from the global financial crisis. Also deserving our heartfelt gratitude are our business and conservation partners, as well as the dedicated team of Park staff, who continue to deliver the best and safest theme park experience to our guests every day of the year.”

Dr. Zeman added, “We are very excited about the future of Ocean Park, as our new flagship theme zone Aqua City will soon give our guests a taste of the New Ocean Park experience envisioned in our MRP. As more new attractions and presentations are launched, we remain committed to offering the best value-for-dollar theme park experience in Hong Kong. I encourage everyone to visit their People’s Park and share in our exhilaration.”

Ocean Park’s 2009/2010 fiscal year is from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.