|Sea Life Carousel, Ocean Park Hong Kong
HONG KONG — Ocean Park’s one hundred millionth guest since inception walked through the Park’s new entrance on 18 February 2011 to a welcoming party headed by Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, who was accompanied by Whiskers and a group of exuberant performers. The history-making guest, Mr Leung Wai-man, was visiting the Park with his wife, two sons and relatives from Hangzhou, China. Not only is the attendance achievement a new milestone for both Ocean Park and Hong Kong, it is also a testament to their status as enduring international travel destinations. Having grown up with the community over the past 34 years, Ocean Park has seen its number of rides, shows and attractions grow from 12 to over 53 (and still growing), the number of animal ambassadors double, with a vastly wider variety of species, and its staff count expand from 300 to 1500. At today’s celebration, Dr. Zeman recognized 20 long-service staff members, who shared a number of touching stories from their over 34 years of service.
Dr. Zeman said, “I would like to thank the people of Hong Kong and visitors from around the world, the Government of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Tourism Board, as well as the Park’s dedicated staff for helping make this remarkable attendance achievement possible. Looking back, we can see that Park attendance grew steadily with an over 2.6 times increase in guest volume in the first 25 years, from 1.3 million in 1977 to 3.4 million in 1992. Excitement and attendance started climbing sharply, exceeding 5 million in 2007/08 and 2009/10, a few years after we embarked on our Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP) in anticipation of the demand for the unique combination of conservation advocacy and top-notch theme park experiences that Ocean Park offers. From what used to be almost exclusively a local attraction, the guest mix today is 60% from overseas and 40% local, which demonstrates Ocean Park’s appeal as an international attraction and destination.”
Mr Philip Yung Wai-hung, JP, Commissioner for Tourism, said, “Over the past 34 years, Ocean Park has shown to the world Hong Kong’s tireless spirit of self-betterment and put on display the wonderful support Hong Kong has received from tourists from around the globe. With this achievement of 100 million in attendance, Ocean Park has marked a new chapter in the history of Hong Kong’s tourism industry.＂
Mr Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), congratulated Ocean Park on receiving its 100 millionth visitor. Mr Lau said, “This is such an important milestone for Hong Kong’s tourism. As one of Hong Kong’s most visited tourist attractions, Ocean Park brings together elements of entertainment, education and conservation. Through these years, the park has enjoyed huge popularity among visitors from the Mainland , as well as short- and long-haul markets, especially among the family segment. With the completion of new facilities at the attraction, the HKTB will join hands with the Park to strengthen promotions, attracting more visitors and further enhancing the city’s appeal as a family destination.”
For staff members who have been working at the Park since before it first opened in 1977, their most significant memories almost always revolve around special relationships they form while serving guests. Mr. Chan Cheuk-wai, for instance, has advanced from being a cable car operator to a cable car engineer over the years. He has kept even his uniform from some 20 years ago, which “Wai Gor” (nickname of Mr. Chan Cheuk-wai) proudly displayed at today’s celebration. He said, “One of my most memorable experiences working at Ocean Park occurred when we helped a quadriplegic guest from Malaysia, who was in a wheelchair, enjoy a ride on our cable car. We had to halt the system and took special care to get him in and out of the cable car cabin. It made me really proud to be a member of the Ocean Park family when he thanked us personally on his visit in the following yearfor going well beyond what any other theme park had ever done to ensure he had a unique and enjoyable experience.” Two guest relation staff members also took the stage to recount how the Park, during annual maintenance, drained the Raging River attraction to help a newlywed woman from Singapore find her wedding ring, which slipped off her finger during the thrill ride. The “rescue operation” has since become a favourite story of dedication and service among Park staff in the different departments involved in the incident.
For helping Ocean Park reach the attendance milestone of 100 million guests, the entire Leung family received lifetime VIP Passes to Ocean Park. They and their visiting relatives also enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grand Aquarium and a sumptuous meal at Neptune’s Restaurant, the Park’s newest and most dramatic restaurant experience, overlooking the Grand Aquarium main gallery window.
Dr. Zeman added, “It is truly remarkable that Ocean Park has connected 100 million guests with nature and delivered conservation messages to them over all these years. With even more new attractions and animal exhibits to open under our MRP in the next two years, Ocean Park is set to extend its legacy by welcoming the next one hundred million guests in the coming years.”