Hong Kong’s troubled Ocean Park saved as lawmakers approve HK$5.4 billion relief fund
Hong Kong’s ailing Ocean Park will be bailed out by the taxpayer after the legislature approved a HK$5.4 billion (USD692 million) relief fund for the attraction to stay afloat for another 12 months.
After hours of debate, 32 legislators gave the nod to a lifeline for the home-grown theme park in Aberdeen amid fears of possible liquidation in June. Twenty lawmakers voted “no” and two abstained.
But the park still faces a bumpy ride to pick up business as the coronavirus pandemic has brought the city’s tourism industry to a standstill.
Officials were expected to come up with an initial plan on the resort’s future by the end of this year. Politicians suggested some of the theme park’s land be used for commercial purposes to drive new sources of revenue for supporting its operations.
“We can’t see the tourism industry having recovering significantly in a year’s time,” tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said.
He suggested allowing the park to operate like the West Kowloon Cultural District, which sold part of its land for commercial use to earn income.
“Keeping the park running as a traditional attraction will not help much,” Yiu said, adding the government should take a greater role in the business.