Theme parks ally to improve their image
The city's major theme parks are forming an alliance to lobby the authorities and improve their image after a series of mechanical and service problems.
Matthias Li Shing-chung, Ocean Park's deputy chief executive, said the Hong Kong Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, which will launch next month, could represent the industry. Its growth in recent years had increased the need for its members to share information and possibly get involved in lobbying, he said. 'It will also voice industry concerns,' Li said.
Its founding members will be big theme parks and attractions, including Disneyland and Ngong Ping 360.
Lo Bing-chung, vice-president for public affairs at Hong Kong Disneyland, said the new association could promote the industry's image.
Citing the several suspensions of service of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, he said many people did not understand the difference between a service suspension and breakdown.
'People think suspension means failure. But it actually does not necessarily mean a breakdown. It can be a precautionary measure,' he said.
At Hong Kong Disneyland, 70 per cent of service suspensions were caused by the weather, he said.
The association will be led by Paul Pei, an Ocean Park executive director, who said yesterday that its main purpose was to 'unite the industry'.
'As an association we are not competitors; as an association we want to grow tourism,' he said on the sidelines of a lunch to promote an industry trade show which starts today at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
The show, organised by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), is one of the biggest of its kind in Asia.
James 'Chip' Cleary, president and chief executive of the IAAPA, said regional growth was expected to be driven by China, India and Indonesia. Greg Hale, a Disney Parks safety specialist with IAAPA, said Hong Kong could serve as a forum for regional talks on safety issues.
Meanwhile, the US-based Themed Entertainment Association ranked Ocean Park the world's 12th largest theme park in terms of visitor admissions last year - up two places from the previous year.