Chinese tourists

Hong Kong’s Ocean Park gives weary office workers a chance to chill out

Wine and dine festival offers long weekends of special food and drink pairings, with free pop concerts thrown in

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 8:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 9:34pm

Ocean Park is launching a wine and dine festival as it looks to rebound from a visitor slump and record deficit last year by taking advantage of the MTR’s extended coverage to entice office workers after dark.

Starting on Friday, visitors who enter after 5pm will be offered a wide selection of food and wine at the Chill Out @ the South event.

The menu will be refreshed every two weeks, with a theme of Japanese sake, global beers or wines, along with matching food options.

Tickets cost HK$168 each and includes HK$50 credit to be used at over 20 stalls on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Visitors can either ask for a tasting portion of the drinks, with spirits from as little as HK$10, or buy whole bottles, many of which are hard to find in Hong Kong.

Drum shows and mini pop concerts featuring local talent come free of charge, with 800 seats up for grabs on a first come, first served basis.

Ocean Park’s deputy chairman Lau Ming-wai said investment for the month-long event exceeded HK$10 million.

“[But] we should not focus on whether we will recoup the investment within these five weeks. This is an opportunity for Ocean Park to build itself into an entertainment destination, as well as strengthen Hong Kong’s image as a hub for delicacies,” he said.

After a year in which it suffered a record deficit of HK$241 million amid an 18.8 per cent drop in attendance, the park has high hopes for the MTR Corp’s South Island Line, which now brings visitors to its doorstep and spares them the frustrating road congestion in Southern District.

Lau said there had been “steady growth” in visitors in January and February, but he would not give exact figures.

Chief executive Matthias Li Sing-chung expected the park’s first hotel to be completed by mid-2018, while other facilities, including an all-season water park, remained on schedule.