Stormy year for Ocean Park as losses double

Top News | Sophie Hui 12 Dec 2019

Sophie Hui

Ocean Park posted a four-year-high deficit of HK$557.3 million in the financial year ending June 30 - more than double the losses in the previous term. It was the fourth consecutive year the park has been in the red.

The park attributed the loss to increased operating costs mainly due to repairs and maintenance for damages wrought by super typhoon Mangkhut in September 2018.

It also has invested in new infrastructure and curated offerings to "uplift guests experience," said chairman Leo Kung Lin-cheng.

In its annual report for the 12 months ending June 30, the park said 5.7 million people visited the park compared to 5.8 million in the previous financial year.

Despite the net deficit doubling on the previous HK$236.5 million, a park spokesman said there were no plans to raise admission prices for now.

The park saw a record HK$1.73 billion in revenue, up 2.89 percent up from the previous year.

Although admission revenue fell 3.81 percent to HK$1.14 billion, other in-park revenue increased 18 percent to HK$553.6 million, including HK$306.6 million from catering and HK$179.4 million from retail sales.

But the surplus from operations of HK$191 million could not make major inroads on the HK$557.3 million due to the increased operating costs and other investments.

Operating costs went up 14.4 percent to HK$1.54 billion from HK$1.35 billion, caused mainly by "a notable rise" in repairs and maintenance for Mangkhut-related damage.

Show and exhibition expenses as well as costs for hospitality, education and conservation programs also increased.

There were investments in offerings such as the revamped rides with digital technologies, new creative formats for seasonal events, expanded night-time entertainment offerings and facility revamps.

"Ocean Park is facing fierce competition from the proliferation of theme parks in the region and an increasingly difficult market environment," Kung said.

"Despite cost pressures, it is mandatory for us to invest in new infrastructure and meticulously curated offerings to maintain the park's attraction as an entertainment destination and a tourism hotspot."

Local attendances were said to be doing well because of Hong Kong resident-exclusive promotions, but tour group attendances experienced a huge drop for the second year in a row.

There have been more family guests with the opening of the Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel in February and the enhanced night-time, food and entertainment offerings.

"The added value and synergy brought by our new theme park resort positioning and the opening of Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel enabled us to expand our overnight and family audiences as well as our corporate business," Kung said.

As its financial year ended on June 30, the annual report did not reflect the impact of the unrest that has seen a significant drop in tourist arrivals across Hong Kong.

Last week, the park revealed that individual visitors from the mainland and overseas dropped 60 percent from July to November while there were 12 percent more locals.

The park launched a winter promotion from last Saturday to January 5 when people can enjoy a 30 percent discount in buying two regular-price daytime admission tickets at HK$700 for adults or HK$350 for children.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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