Hotel tender felled by lack of interest
Lack of interest from property developers was one reason Ocean Park's hotel tender fell through last week, the chairman of the 34-year-old amusement park said yesterday.
'[The tender] came through a very difficult property market where most developers were more concerned about building residential and commercial, because the payback ... is much faster,' Allan Zeman said at the unveiling of the design for the Polar Adventure attraction due to open next summer.
'And even though the government offered many hotel sites, not many were taken up.'
Last week, Zeman said the tender had been allowed to lapse because the terms were 'not in the best interests of the parties concerned'.
The tender would have required the developer to build and run the hotels and share profits with Ocean Park for 30 years before transferring ownership to the theme park.
He said the new terms would be outlined at a meeting of the hotel steering committee next month, and a fresh tender would hopefully be presented early next year.
If this plan is successful, the hotels could be running in late 2014 or early 2015.
The tender had originally called for two hotels - one at the main entrance and a second at the Tai Shue Wan entrance to Ocean Park - to open by 2013 and 2015 respectively.
The park has talked about building hotels for more than a decade, with firm plans set in the last few years. However, completion dates have been revised several times.
'We still believe that hotels are very important for Ocean Park, and very important for Hong Kong. This year the tourism board is estimating around 40 million people coming to Hong Kong,' Zeman said.
'I'm not sure there's enough hotels to accommodate all the visitors and in talking to my mainland friends, they expect in the next few years, many, many more visitors to come to Hong Kong. If we don't have hotels, we won't be getting the increases that we're looking for.'
He said a record number of visitors had come to the park in the last five months. Attendance earlier this month was 30 per cent higher than last year.
'This Saturday alone we had 36,000 visitors through the park,' Zeman said. He also said there were no plans to raise admission fees.
Meanwhile, after six years, the Polar Adventure will feature three species of penguin, largha seals from Japan and China, and a restaurant. Five giant salamanders will feature in the Amazing Asian Animals exhibit.
The park earlier scrapped plans to import beluga whales.