Ocean Park headed for another record year as new show opens

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am

Ocean Park had 5 million visitors last year, and 2007 looks like it will be another bumper year, chairman Allan Zeman said yesterday.

'I am very happy to report that we have had a record-making first quarter in 2007, with over 1 million guests having visited us,' he said.

'In fact, in the calendar year of 2006, Ocean Park achieved well over 5 million guests, which is an all-time record and first for the park.'

Mr Zeman was speaking at a double celebration to mark the completion of the park's new main entrance - reflecting its 30th anniversary - and the opening of the fourth Animal Close Encounters show.

With new projects being rolled out in the next 41/2 years as part of a HK$5.55 billion redevelopment, Mr Zeman said the park could be among the best in the world.

'Five million visitors is not an insignificant amount, and last year, Forbes magazine said we were one of the top 10 theme parks in the world, so we are already getting recognised.

'We are about education, conservation, and all those kinds of things are really exciting,' he added.

'Hong Kong is a first-class place and we set very high standards for ourselves, and so we will continue to do that at Ocean Park. The only way we can be world-class is if we are first- class.'

Having changed into a green leprechaun outfit, Mr Zeman met schoolchildren at the opening of the Animal Close Encounters show.

Making their Hong Kong debut are Arctic foxes and wolves, on loan from the Dalian Marine and Mammal Park. About 70 rare species of frogs and amphibians, including the endangered Anderson's crocodile newt, as well as a giant Pacific octopus, are also on display.

The director of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Suzanne Gendron, said local people could make a difference to the planet's future 'because we are part of the problem'.

'By the things that we do here, our pollution makes it to the Arctic. Our actions are cutting down rainforests in Brazil and Southeast Asia, and increasing temperatures in the ice caps in the north,' she said.

'These animals are faced with extinction if this process continues. The best way to make a difference is to make people care.'

Over Easter, the park hopes to top the 400,000 people who visited during the same period last year.

'At the moment, we have been breaking records every month and, hopefully, it will continue,' Mr Zeman said.