Ocean Park has issued a tender invitation to develop a 495 room hotel near the main entrance of the popular amusement park. Talk about a change in fortunes for Ocean Park! Many cynics thought it might be forced to close after plans were announced in 1999 to build Hong Kong Disneyland.
A textbook example of how to turn a challenge into an opportunity, Ocean Park has managed to completely re-invent itself. Rather than being overshadowed by Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened on 12 December 2005, Ocean Park has effectively risen to the challenge, emerging as one of Hong Kong's key tourist attractions.
The two amusement parks seem to complement – rather than compete with – each other, and some would argue that Ocean Park might even have a slight edge in terms of popularity with both locals and foreign tourists. It goes without saying that Ocean Park is certainly not Disney's ugly stepsister!
Targeted for completion in the third quarter of 2016, the hotel – which has been tentatively dubbed Ocean Hotel – is part of a Master Redevelopment Plan, which includes the opening of a number of new rides and attractions, the first of which will be launched in 2014.
A new shark aquarium, created from the former Atoll Reef, will open in the third quarter of that year. A koala exhibit will follow in the fourth quarter.
“More exciting still is the on-going planning work for the redevelopment of the now-closed Tai Shue Wan area into a water park,” says Dr Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park who is widely recognized as having been instrumental in the park's turnaround.
“We look forward to sharing each exciting milestone with the people of Hong Kong and visitors from all over the world alike. ”
With the addition of these new attractions, it is expected that one day will no longer be enough to see and do everything that Ocean Park will have to offer.
The planned hotel will thus provide convenient accommodation for visitors wanting to spend two or more days visiting Ocean Park, transforming the district into a world class travel destination.
The project is expected to create some 3,500 new jobs during the construction phase. Upon completion, approximately 500 permanent positions will be created in the hospitality sector.
International Resort Destination
“Having been recognised as a world-leading theme park with our recent Applause Award accolade, we are now ready to transform Ocean Park into a premier international resort destination and further fulfil our role as a major pillar of Hong Kong’s tourism industry,” Allan says
“With the completion of the MTR South Island Line in 2015, the new hotel will also enhance Southern District’s position as a new base for travelers. The proposed design of the hotel must be compatible with Ocean Park’s mission to provide guests with memorable experiences combining conservation, education, and entertainment values, as well as its vision to connect people with nature.”
And let's not forget! Ocean Park is just minutes away from some of Hong Kong's best beaches and yacht harbours, not to mention Stanley Village, a perennial favourite with both locals and foreign tourists.
Ocean Park 101
More than 110 million people have visited Ocean Park since it opened in January 1977. Targeted at connecting people with nature, it is recognised for its research, animal husbandry, and its relationship with the community, blending entertainment with wildlife conservation projects.
Part of the proceeds from Ocean Park admission tickets and some retail items go to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong, to support its wildlife conservation projects.
Your Response Wanted!
Have you visited Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park? Which one do you like better and why?
Please post your comments in the comment box below. Better yet, please post them on Facebook at the following link: Accidental Travel Writer on Facebook. And don't forget to LIKE us while you're there!