Ocean Park slips to red

Top News | Maisy Mok 28 Oct 2021

Ocean Park has posted a deficit of HK$31.8 million in the financial year ending June 30 - despite receiving HK$1.45 billion in government funding.

The park recorded a HK$1.92 billion profit in the previous financial year that reversed losses in the previous four fiscal years - thanks to a HK$3 billion government grant.

But it is in the red again as revenues nearly halved to HK$393.6 million year-on-year and visitor numbers were down by more than a third to 1.4 million when compared with 2019-2020, according to the park's financial report.

Ocean Park said in a press statement that the drop was a result of its closure for 40 percent of the fiscal year - equivalent to 146 days - between July 1 last year and February 17 this year in accordance with the government's mandate due to the pandemic.

"The closure completely cut off the source of revenues from visitors," it said.

"The park reopened on February 18 though at severely limited capacities with primarily local visitations."

The park also recorded a net operating deficit of HK$1.11 billion this year before netting off a grant of HK$841.5 million under the government's funding support to subsidize its operating expenses.

After that, the park recorded a HK$270.1 million net operating deficit, which is 77 percent lower than the net operating deficit of HK$1.17 billion in the previous year.

Between July 1 last year to June 30 this year, the park received HK$1.45 billion to support its operations and capital expenditure, complete the Water World development project, and settle its current liabilities and possible compensation brought forward from last year.

"We are extremely grateful to the government for its funding support and for formulating Ocean Park's future strategy together," said Ivan Wong Chi-fai, chief executive of Ocean Park Corp.

"These not only enabled Ocean Park Corp to maintain its operations and launch Water World Ocean Park but also to reinvent itself as a new resort and leisure destination."

The report said the park has undertaken emergency cost-saving initiatives to reduce the impact of Covid, including strict control of operating and discretionary expenses, energy conservation, no-pay leave, salary cuts and a hiring freeze.

"Programs and events were carried out in a highly agile and flexible manner to allow for fast turn-around and optimal budget management," it said.

Wong said despite a continuing difficult operating environment, the corporation has reimagined the Ocean Park experience with new concepts.

"As a result, we attracted new visitors, including health, sports and fitness enthusiasts, nature adventurers, pet lovers, plant and flower enthusiasts, and more," he said.

"The immense public enthusiasm of our new attempts showed that the Park is on the right path."

Wong said it is encouraging for the park to deliver conservation and education work amid various Covid restrictions.

From 2020 to 2021, the park has developed a citywide conservation program that mobilized some 50,000 students to preserve three local species - Acropora corals, green turtle and golden birdwing butterfly.


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