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Hong Kong Ocean Park, goodbye unspeakable

Date: 2020-05-19

The 43-year-old Hong Kong Ocean Park can't last any longer.

More than 100 days after the closure of the new coronavirus epidemic on January 26, the Ocean Park of Hong Kong recently reported that it was facing bankruptcy due to depletion of funds: the current cash flow is only sufficient to maintain operations until June.

On May 11, Qiu Tenghua, the Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government announced that the government had submitted documents to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council and planned to allocate about HK $ 5.4 billion to the park. The bill has been submitted for consideration. He said that if it cannot be passed before June, Ocean Park will officially close next month.

Once bankrupt, it affected about 2,000 employees and 7,500 animals, including national treasure pandas, red pandas, sloths, dolphins, penguins, seals, walruses, sea lions, dolphins, whales and other animals, covering more than 400 animals. Variety.

The best theme park in the world

The Hong Kong Ocean Park, which opened on January 10, 1977, carries many memories of Hong Kong people and mainland tourists.

The predecessor of the park was a theme animal park called Paris Farm, which was operated in the 1950s. After taking office in 1971, Governor MacLehose advocated vigorously building public recreational facilities, so he reclaimed the land and built a public marine park. The Ocean Park, which has been indifferent for more than 20 years, was ushered in in 2003 when Sheng Zhiwen, the “Father of Hong Kong Lan Kwai Fong”, took over. He quickly turned losses into profits, and made more profit from 2004 to 2014. constant increase.

In 2012, Hong Kong Ocean Park won the Applause Award (the best theme park in the world) and became a story. The number of visitors that year exceeded 7 million.

In the interview, Xiong Xiaojie, a senior domestic cultural tourism marketing expert, praised the glory created by Ocean Park-one was that the Ocean Park hit the trait of "scarcity"; the other was Sheng Zhiwen, then chairman of Hong Kong Ocean Park All kinds of innovations have activated the atmosphere and attention of the park. "This is the most critical factor in the theme park." He analyzed that in addition to the new equipment, the park had built many good projects at the time, such as the introduction of the giant panda exhibition hall, and the special event for making Halloween. "Sheng Zhiwen has done very well in entertainment marketing and corporate mediaization."

Mansi, who grew up in Guangzhou, thinks it is a representative of mainland tourists ’feelings about Hong Kong.“ It ’s a pity that Ocean Park is one of the must-visit spots for parents ’generations to visit Hong Kong. There are many of my childhood memories, plus going to the ocean The park has a long way to go, take the cable car, and then visit the scenic area, watching the dolphin show, the whole process is more exciting and memorable. "

Halloween and "Hello"

The whereabouts of the Ocean Park have also continued to be discussed locally in Hong Kong. As a post-80s Stella in Hong Kong, Stella did n’t pay much attention, but the impression is that it has been doing well in the past few years, "especially the annual Halloween event."

There is also a strong Ocean Park complex, and the post-90s girl Sasha in the mainland, "It ’s shocking, after all, this is the most yearning place when Hong Kong opened for free travel." She said she already "N brushed" this theme park-continuous I have been going to Halloween events for several years, which is particularly scary and much more fun than Disney. She still remembers that in the "ghost house", she was so scared that she dared not open her eyes. The park also required men and women to play separately. The process was very exciting. I was also impressed by the funny food provided by the festival, the juice made like plasma ... "I don't want Ocean Park to become a permanent memory."

The park ace project "Hello Feeding the Whole Garden Festival" mentioned by Stella and Salsa is one of the most popular projects successfully created by Ocean Park during the period when Sheng Zhiwen took over.

"Hello Hello" poster at Hong Kong Ocean Park. The event was launched in 2001, but with the promotion of Sheng Zhiwen, it has become one of the most representative events in Hong Kong.

It was after seeing the booming "Hello Feed" activity that some scenic spots in the mainland began to introduce Halloween marketing activities. Chimelong Group first smelled business opportunities and created a Halloween event in a domestic theme park. The special event "Happy Halloween" held in Chimelong Happy World was immediately welcomed by the market.

In the following years, this event during Halloween became another magic weapon for Guangzhou Chimelong Paradise and Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom to attract passengers. When Halloween meets "happiness", the sense of garden fun is further strengthened. The reporter learned that in recent years on Halloween, Chimelong Happy World visitors reached 100,000, and the tickets were sold out as early as the day before. One hundred thousand people are due to the current limit of the park.

Crazy squeeze of competitors

If the 2010s were the most beautiful years of Ocean Park in Hong Kong, then this glorious time was also the year when it was wildly chased by its peers.

Over the past 30 years, in addition to the old and criticized facilities of the Ocean Park, mainland tourists, especially Guangdong tourists, will inevitably compare it with the adjacent Guangzhou Chimelong Wildlife Park and Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom.

"Neither the aquarium nor the tourist facilities can be competitive, not to mention that the Ocean Park is not large, the ticket price is not low, and the price / performance ratio is very low. Why not choose the larger and more fun Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean in the same marine theme park What about the kingdom? "In the interview, Xiao Qian in Shenzhen issued a series of questions. After taking her son to check both, she decided not to go to Ocean Park Hong Kong again.

Hong Kong Ocean Park covers 91.5 hectares, and Zhuhai Chimelong International Marine Resort covers 132 hectares. The latter not only has a large area, but also has a matching theater, circus city, science museum and many hotels to choose from. Speaking of the supporting facilities of the Ocean Park in Hong Kong, even the Hong Kong people Jia Jia reluctantly said: "I just think that the scenery of the mountaintop restaurant is not bad."

All current Ocean Park projects are almost the same as Sheng Zhiwen ’s management period, and the pace of innovation has come to an abrupt end. Some interviewees bluntly said, “I have not felt the innovative and lively atmosphere like Disneyland or Legoland” A place where retired seniors and preschool children will go to play. "

Ocean Park Hong Kong has suffered losses since FY2014. That year, the theme park in the Mainland entered the fast lane: In 2014, Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom opened. In 2015, Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park opened. In 2016, Shanghai Disneyland opened. In 2018, Sanya Atlantis opened.

In China, theme parks including Shanghai Disneyland, Guangzhou Chimelong Wildlife Park, Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, etc. have attracted more than 10 million visitors in recent years.

In addition, Sunachuang Cultural Tourism Group has emerged as another cultural tourism black horse in China. As of March 2019, Sunac has intensively constructed 10 cultural tourism cities, 4 cultural tourism resorts and 9 cultural tourism towns in the country. Covering 39 Sunac Paradise and 70 star hotels.

In addition, with the improvement of people's living standards and the convenience of visas, theme parks including Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Europe and the United States have become within reach, and they have become places where people "punch". In the interview, senior travel program host Feng Jieping said: "There are too many travel destinations and gameplay options available to you. Hong Kong Ocean Park needs to be updated, especially because the software packages and services of mainland tourists must keep up with the times to maintain Its status and appeal. "

10.6 billion turn around?

Hong Kong Ocean Park is not without a sense of crisis.

In 2016, Hong Kong media reported on the transformation of Hong Kong Ocean Park. But it was not until January this year that I really saw a little splash.

On January 13 this year, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, Qiu Tenghua, announced that he would apply to the Legislative Council of the Special Administrative Region for HK $ 10.64 billion to support the development of the Hong Kong Ocean Park. In this new plan, Hong Kong Ocean Park will be redeveloped into seven experience areas, with more than 100 attractions.

An unexpected epidemic made this ambitious HK $ 10 billion development plan shrink to HK $ 5.4 billion in emergency bailout applications after four months.

At that time, under the agitation of several theme parks that opened one after another, the entire environment of China's cultural tourism has undergone earth-shaking changes, and tourists' tastes and gameplay have been different. Even if the Ocean Park spends a lot of money to expand its scale, it may not be able to restore its former glory.

Xiong Xiaojie pointed out that the park currently has nothing outstanding-including the introduction of new equipment, the absence of more sustainable IP, and groundbreaking event planning. These three factors may be the trend of Hong Kong Ocean Park in the severe competitive environment. The key reason for the failure crisis.

The epidemic is just the last straw

Since the outbreak of the New Crown Virus, many theme parks around the world have reported serious losses and layoffs. But the situation in Hong Kong Ocean Park is not the same. The crisis began to emerge in FY2014. The data shows that by the financial year 2018-2019, the loss was 557 million Hong Kong dollars, which is already the fourth consecutive fiscal year in which Ocean Park has lost money. Affected by the epidemic this year, the loss is expected to expand further year-on-year.

This was once the most famous tourist business card in Hong Kong. Like an elderly man who suddenly became seriously ill, he was seriously exposed to the aging powerlessness that he had accumulated. The superposition of many social factors and the continuing of the new coronavirus epidemic have undoubtedly accelerated its aging and become the last straw to overwhelm it.

Some people support the transformation of the Ocean Park and believe that its existence value "is as indispensable as the Guangzhou Zoo for Guangzhou people. It is a feeling."

Feelings are precious. But nourishment is more expensive.

Kong Lingcheng, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ocean Park Hong Kong, revealed that the fixed monthly expenditure of Ocean Park Hong Kong is HK $ 140 million.

According to the most optimistic situation, even if the 5.4 billion Hong Kong dollar appropriation is passed, it will not help Ocean Park get rid of the crisis completely. Because more than half of this appropriation, about 3 billion Hong Kong dollars, will be used to repay commercial loans that have expired and must be repaid, the rest is only enough to maintain the operation of Ocean Park in the next 12 months.

Jia Jia, a public relations officer in Hong Kong, said that Disney ’s impact on Hong Kong Ocean Park was great when she was stationed in Hong Kong, but the tourism industry was greatly affected by the epidemic. of."

From January 26 this year, the Ocean Park will be temporarily closed. On May 8th, the park also stated that it will make various measures to welcome the official opening of the park. Qiu Tenghua believes that Ocean Park has unique significance to Hong Kong, and he does not want this world-class conservation base to be the first victim under the impact of the epidemic.