Hong Kong’s Ocean Park credits new MTR line and early Lunar New Year for double-digit growth in visitors
South Island Line, special offers and holiday period contribute to boost in January figures
A new MTR line, big discounts and an early Lunar New Year holiday helped Ocean Park post a 30 per cent surge in visitor numbers last month compared to the same period a year ago, its management said on Thursday.
Park chief Matthias Li Sing-chung said the combined factors had contributed to a “very ideal double-digit” growth in visitors and a subsequent boost for in-park spending.
Cautioning against reading too much into the numbers however, Li said since the Lunar New Year often did not fall in January, year-on-year comparisons did not paint an accurate picture of the boost to park traffic.
Nevertheless, he said, “since the opening of the MTR line, we’ve seen more local and mainland tourists come ... and spend more time”.
The park recorded a deficit of HK$241 million in the financial year ending last June – its first since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003. It is also recovering from an 18.8 per cent drop in visitors in that period.
In a bid to boost local patronage last month, the park offered 4,000 tickets a day to Hong Kong residents at a heavily discounted HK$40 as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations. Li said the deal, which ended last Friday, had had a “positive effect” on local attendance.
Elderly visitors, who enjoy free admission, also turned out in greater numbers. Meanwhile more Southeast Asian tourists prompted an internal study on whether more halal food choices should be offered.
Li said the opening of the South Island Line in late December meant people were getting to and from the park more conveniently. This had resulted in visitors leaving at a later hour and spending more cash on merchandise and refreshments.
While visitor numbers in the first five days of the Lunar New Year holiday were “about the same” as last year, he said there had been big growth in spending inside the park.
But Li added: “January is considered a low season so further observation is needed to see what impact the increase has had on our general traffic.”
Upcoming attractions include night admission tickets and alfresco dining and bars. Two food trucks, situated near the bus stops, are also set to arrive in the next few weeks.