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P. 10: Business model/ticketing shifts & park access plans announced!

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I really hope I'm wrong but when I hear '3rd party operators installing rides and collecting revenue' all I think of is 'carnival'

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Ocean Park Closes Temporarily Starting 2 December

In response to the Government’s requirement for all scheduled premises under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) to suspend operations from 2 to 15 December 2020 in the wake of the resurgence of COVID-19 infections, Ocean Park will be temporarily closed from 2 December until further notice.

All online reservations for entry and Park programmes scheduled for the period of 2 to 15 December will be cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Guests who purchased Ocean Park admission tickets or enrolled in programmes valid for the affected dates at the Park’s Ticketing Office or official website can keep their tickets or enrolment confirmation for direct ticket exchange or refund by the Park. For visitors who purchased tickets through the Park’s authorised agents or other authorised channels, the Park will assist in providing ticket exchange and refund information.

Updates on ticket exchange and refund arrangements will be announced on the website in due course.

The Park will pay close attention to the COVID-19 situation and determine a reopening date in accordance with the latest Government guidelines. We look forward to seeing our visitors again soon.

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Ocean Park has announced that they will be shifting their business model from all-inclusive ticketing (rides and attractions included at one cost) to a per-experience ticketing cost. Some older rides will also be retired with third party operators expected to install replacements and collect revenue from their operation. A portion of the park will be opened up for public access to become a retail, dining and entertainment area, not requiring ticketed admission to enter. 

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https://www.oceanpark.com.hk/en/press-release/government-unveils-future-plan-for-ocean-park-hong-kong-with-conservation-and

The Government and Ocean Park Corporation have completed a rethink exercise to chart the way forward and reimagine new opportunities for the Park, leveraging on its unique geographical location, and its expertise and proven track record in conservation and education. The proposed plan breaks through existing frameworks, with a revamped operating model, a new pricing model and a wide array of enhanced visitor experiences to help the Park achieve business sustainability.
 
“Ocean Park is grateful for the invaluable support from the public and the Government. The new operating model enables us to improve, innovate, and invigorate the Park in the exciting years ahead,” said Lau Ming-wai, Chairman of Ocean Park. “We are excited to have this all-new approach to pave the way forward for the Park. We look forward to working out the details and bringing the next stage of Ocean Park to Hong Kong as soon as possible.”
 
Under the latest plan, Ocean Park will amplify its efforts in local wildlife conservation and education, creating Hong Kong’s biggest and best nature classroom to accompany our next generations on their conservation and learning journeys . The Park will also introduce an admission-free Retail, Dining and Entertainment Zone, along with whole-new Wellness-themed Zones and an Adventure Zone to provide truly unique and diversified dining and entertainment experiences. Together with the soon-to-be-launched Water World and two piers to be built, visitors are set to immerse themselves in the extraordinary experiences and stunning natural beauty of the Park.

Driving Conservation and Education inside and outside the Park: The Park aims to better integrate conservation and education with the overall park experience; and deepen the engagement and interaction with the public. It will work closely with schools to enhance and complement the school curriculum, opening up conservation and education possibilities for interactive, hands-on learning. The Park will take advantage of the latest technologies to provide unprecedented experiences to visitors. In addition, it will collaborate with the Government, corporations and NGOs to take conservation work in Hong Kong to the next level.

Free entry to new Retail, Dining and Entertainment Zone: The 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. All visitors, no matter families or friends, will have countless memories and enjoyment at the Park.

Leverage our stunning shoreline: Ocean Park Water World, the highly anticipated world-class attraction, will open this year. With two brand-new piers, Hongkongers can cruise around the Southern District that starts with Ocean Park, and take in the stunning views of Hong Kong’s southern shorelines while participating in meaningful eco and cultural tours.

Build upon the natural beauty of our topography: The whole new Wellness-themed Zones will combine conservation and education with the beautiful natural scenery of the Park and its surroundings to provide an exciting array of wellness-themed outdoor activities, while the Adventure Zone promises elevated thrilling guest experiences with new rides embedding elements of nature.

Lau concluded, “Our renewed direction embodies our vision of advancing Ocean Park into Hong Kong’s leading education platform, with a strong mission to promote wildlife conservation and environmental protection. Leveraging on our exceptional location and with the launch of Water World soon, we are confident that Ocean Park will play a pivotal role in the ‘Invigorating Island South’ initiative. We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving business sustainability and to serving the community of Hong Kong.”

(Ocean Park photos from the TPR Park Index)

 

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I really hope I'm wrong but when I hear '3rd party operators installing rides and collecting revenue' all I think of is 'carnival'

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^Yeah, the 'carny' element worries me a bit. I don't want a bunch of powered zamperla dragon coasters like in Chinese parks.  But if they pull this off it could end up working. I know they were really focusing on that front part of the park and with a metro station it could be a nice shopping/dining/entertainment area for people to drop by easier. 

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I'lI be sad if the coasters that take advantage of their views are removed. I may have to try and visit Hong Kong in the next couple of years before these changes are implemented. 

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^ Honestly, I don't think any of Ocean Parks coasters are very good and only have the views going for them, even the new B&M which is maybe one of my least favorite B&M's I've ever ridden (I'd heard people complain but on my first visit it just seemed to have typical B&M rattle, however on my last visit it was really bad.)

 

Screamscape is reporting the Arrow coaster is going to get the cut for certain but 1) it's Screamscape and 2) their source is just another blog site called Coaster Kings who credit Hong Kong news without linking to the article but after some searching I found it Here. The article mentions 7 but I could only match up 5 using the Chinese since the translation really made the names different but the 5 listed in the article turned out to be: The Ferris Wheel, Dragon Coaster (Arrow Looper), Abyss Drop Towers, Chairswings, and Log Flume. 

 

Saying that however if I were to take a guess, I would also think that the whole back-end of the park would be the first to be phased out. So one of the other of the 7 could be the swinging ship since all the rides around it are being removed. Even on packed days whenever I have been people show up for the dolphin show and then return to the summit area near the train and cable car, the only ride that ever had a line was the observation tower. The place is a ghost town and I don't think I've ever waited for any ride there including the Arrow coaster. The  Condor ride was already removed from there a while ago.

 

Considering the main entrance of the park is mostly devoid of rides and probably going to be the area for dining/entertainment, and most of the rides in that article marked as being removed are in the same area in the back of the park I can see them turning that area into the rentable area for '3rd party operators' since it isn't too far from the funicular and cable car stations.  The only wild cards are 1) there's a brand new 6 seater version top-scan there which if this article is true it will be completely  on it's own which is a bit weird and 2) I'm curious how they will entice people to go there if the park is now a pay to ride park. It might be a hard-sell to 3rd operators to move in all the way up there since that area isn't accessible without taking the train/cable-car. When people had already paid to go through the gate, of course they went up, but I feel like under the new model more people just going to look around will end up down in the entrance/aquarium/panda area. Perhaps the funicular will become free to get more people up to the summit and the cable-car will be paid? Will be interesting to see how the animal exhibits spread throughout the park will factor into the new paying model as well.

 

The other area is the flume/mine-train area. It's far away and another area that people never wanted to make the trek to. The Huss Enterprise was already removed and this article lists the log flume. I just don't see the mine train being kept open if it's the only ride in that far off corner. They added VR to it to revitalize it but they did the same to The Abyss drop tower and that's apparently being cut.

 

Honestly I'm basing it off that newspaper article, so don't take it as confirmed until the park or government says something. I haven't heard anything official yet but the park and government is supposed to release details at the earliest next Monday so maybe confirmation could come then.

 

I've attached pictures of one of our trips on a hot sunny September of the crowds entering and the rides at the back-end. Full disclaimer that it seemed a lot of the crowds that day were there for the aquarium, dolphin show and the animal exhibits around the rides at the top because that's where we kept hitting crowds.

 

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