Ocean Park Hong Kong Looks to Future
As Ocean Park Hong Kong emerges from the global pandemic, the theme park made headlines when announcing sweeping changes that will affect management, operations, and removal of the admission gate from the lower section of the park. In an exclusive interview with Funworld, Timothy Ng, executive director of operations and entertainment at Ocean Park Hong Kong, provides insight on the park’s upcoming operational transformation, including the change to pay-as-you-go ticketing.
“We are excited to share the latest information on our upcoming events and future development with our industry peers of IAAPA,” says Ng.
Funworld’s exclusive interview highlighting the new direction for the park that is uniquely positioned on the South China Sea appears below.
Funworld: As Ocean Park Hong Kong moves into a new system of management and operations, we understand that there may be multiple gate tickets and options for guests on their preferred experience. How will the new changes affect the guest experience at the park?
Timothy Ng: With the vision of reenergizing the Ocean Park brand and experience, we are bringing in like-minded partners with new perspectives, ideas, and revenue models. To recap, the new plan will focus on four areas:
- Driving conservation and education inside and outside the park
- Free entry to the new retail, dining, and entertainment zone
- Leverage our stunning shoreline
- New wellness-themed and adventure-themed zones that build upon the natural beauty of the park
Ocean Park’s lower park area will be open to the public for free. Visitors can enjoy world-class performances with gourmet dining, capture highly Instagrammable photo moments, relax at the multipurpose areas, and have a great time with their children at the dedicated kids’ zone.
We are open to working with different partners with expertise and specialty to develop a wide range of remarkable retail, dining, and entertainment experiences for our guests, and a tendering exercise will be conducted for this. The new operating model allows Ocean Park to combine our core competencies—conservation, education, and destination entertainment—with other partners who also share the same vision.
Meanwhile, we understand our guests may have different interests when visiting the park. That’s why we will introduce pay-as-you-go ticketing schemes and remove the entry barrier of a full-price admission ticket to bring an unprecedented level of flexibility to visitors. The new pricing model aims to provide a more personalized journey for our guests, as they can choose and pay for what they want to enjoy in the park.
With the new operating model and pricing scheme, visitors—no matter families or friends—will continue to have countless memories and enjoyment at the park.
FW: How is Ocean Park Hong Kong positioned after this restructure? What will be the main focus for the company as you move into a new era?
TN: The new Ocean Park is a reinvention of a brand and destination that people have come to love. The new strategy enables us to bring new, extraordinary experiences while reinjecting vigor, creative thinking, and technologies to the things we do best—blending conservation, education, and entertainment in a seamless manner.
With strengthened focus on local wildlife conservation and education, the park aims to create Hong Kong’s biggest and best nature classroom to accompany our next generations on their conservation and learning journeys. Besides, the park is set to further develop into a unique leisure and resort destination for local and overseas visitors with an exciting array of retail, dining, and entertainment offerings.
FW: Are there any new projects that you would like to share with us which will be happening in Ocean Park Hong Kong this year?
TN: We are thrilled to share the news that Ocean Park Water World is scheduled to open this year, providing guests with a one-of-a-kind all-weather world-class leisure destination featuring 27 indoor and outdoor water attractions. In addition, a technology-driven and highly interactive education center, STEAM Hub, is expected to be launched this year.
FW: It’s never easy to say goodbye to an older ride or attraction. Can you walk us through the discussions you had internally that led to the decision on what rides to retire? What were the factors involved? Age? Operational costs? Labor costs? Low ridership?
TN: It’s a hard decision to retire some of the rides in the park. We have listened to the feedback of visitors and stakeholders. We understood they now have new expectations, and the way they enjoy the Park has changed throughout the years.
We will be retiring a few rides in the near future, including “The Dragon” (looping roller coaster), “Raging River” (log flume), and “Wild West Mine Train” (family roller coaster) attractions. Considering the structural integrity of the rides, especially those which have been in service for decades, we believe this is an opportune time to transform the park and tackle legacy challenges once and for all, refreshing what Ocean Park truly means to Hongkongers and overseas visitors.
FW: Ocean Park’s new water park looks amazing. What will make the park different than any other in Asia—or the world?
TN: With its hillside surroundings and a series of terraced platforms and wave pools facing the majestic South China Sea, the soon-to-open Ocean Park Water World is an all-weather, all-year park that amplifies the natural beauty of our topography.
FW: Is there a method or formula that Ocean Park has used to keep your employees excited and engaged for the future?
TN: Ocean Park is a place where memories are made with multiple generations, for our employees and visitors alike. We have a new strategy for the future, but one thing will remain unchanged: the park will continue to be a special place where our future generations will learn about nature and conservation when they enjoy extraordinary experiences.
Our employees are the park’s biggest assets, and we actively engage staff members on all levels through discussions, opinion collections, workshops, town halls, digital platforms, and more. We keep our staff informed, involved, and excited about the park’s plans, changes, and future.
FW: How can IAAPA support in Ocean Park Hong Kong’s transition?
TN: We appreciate IAAPA’s support as always, in recognition of the park’s world-class entertainment offerings. The several awards we have received from IAAPA that gave us great confidence and reaffirmed our efforts to continue providing top-notch leisure and entertainment experiences for guests. We will continue our long-standing partnership with IAAPA, connect with industry counterparts around the world to share experiences and best practices, and explore new sourcing and business opportunities.