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(Hong Kong – 19 December 2008) Ocean Park Chairman, Dr Allan Zeman, welcomed Town Planning Board’s approval, with conditions, of the Park’s Section 16 application for the proposed development of three hotels at Ocean Park, and said that Ocean Park will now move forward and start to gauge market interest in the early part of 2009.

Dr Zeman said, “We are grateful to the members’ support for the plans, and appreciate and acknowledge their valuable input set forth in the conditions that will apply. We will make sure our plans are fully compliant with their recommendations.”

He continued, “This Section 16 application is a necessary process to have the hotel parameters approved. The designs that will ultimately be selected for each of the three hotels will be in line with the Park’s mandate of education and conservation, be respectful of our surrounding environment, and be fully sympathetic to the needs of our neighbourhood community.”

According to Dr Zeman, with this conditional approval, Ocean Park will now study the recommendations made by the Town Planning Board. “We will assess the current conditions, and gauge market sentiments. We will also take a look at our working time line, but we believe we can follow our plan to have the hotels come on stream from 2011/12 onwards,” he said.

He added, “We have been receiving constructive input about our hotel plans from the Planning Department and members in our neighbourhood community. Our continuing interest now is to engage with and maintain positive relations with our neighbours, while finding the best solutions to our business objectives, as well as our growing guest requirements.”

The three hotels will each have their own distinctive theme. “The hotels will fully reflect the Ocean Park spirit and vitality, and will integrate with all of our education and conservation values,” Dr Zeman said. “It is incumbent upon the prospective developer to incorporate these key elements into the final design for our selection,” he added.

According to Dr Zeman, the proposed hotel development will be an important supporting infrastructure to enhance the tourism appeal of both Ocean Park and Hong Kong, through diversifying guest experiences, and prolonging their length of stay. “Most major theme parks today include themed accommodation within the park boundaries to anchor and enhance guest stay, and our Master Redevelopment Plan has always envisaged a standalone, but complementary, hotel development,” he said. “Our hotels will also create a unique niche for the district by also catering to the family travellers,” he added.

Dr Zeman said, “These hotel plans are a timely response to the Chief Executive’s call in his Policy Address 2007/08 for promoting MICE tourism and supporting hotel development.” He added, “It is our vision for these Ocean Park hotels to provide venues for group visitors, independent travellers and companies coming for conferences and business events, thereby opening a new market segment for the redeveloped Park.”

Once completed, the three hotels will bring additional visitations to Ocean Park and to the south side of Hong Kong Island. According to Dr Zeman, this incremental growth will benefit Hong Kong’s other tourist-related sectors, such as the retail and restaurant businesses as well.

Additionally, the hotel development is expected to bring about employment opportunities during the construction phase and for the long term operations of the hotels.

“We would like to thank the members of the Southern District Council, representatives from the tourism trade, and all the people who have offered their valuable input, and support, for our proposals. We are truly excited about these hotel projects, which will reinforce Ocean Park as the world’s best marine-based theme park that connects our guests with mother nature through exciting activities. With the new business and tourism opportunities brought about by the new hotel, retail and entertainment elements, Ocean Park could be a catalyst to the revitalization of Aberdeen, resulting in a more vibrant Southern District, and positioning Hong Kong as the family destination of choice for visitors from Mainland China and other countries,” Dr Zeman said.

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About Ocean Park
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique homegrown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognized for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 90 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offer adults and children experiences that blend entertainment with education and conservation. Part of the proceeds from the Ocean Park admission tickets and some retail items will go to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong to support its wildlife conservation projects.