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Hong Kong’s theme parks to reopen as Government looks to reboot tourism
In a move to restart its tourism industry, the Hong Kong Government has approved the reopening of the Disneyland and Ocean Park theme parks while also pushing for return of trade shows and conventions.
Ocean Park, which had a HK$5.4 billion (US$692 million) relief package approved by the Hong Kong legislature at the end last month, will reopen as of this Saturday (13th June) with Hong Kong Disneyland expected to follow in the coming weeks - although a firm date is not yet confirmed.
Closed since late January as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the reopening of the two theme parks is seen as key to rebooting Hong Kong’s economy which is addition to being halted by the impact of COVID-19 has also been affected over the past year by social unrest.
Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah revealed on Monday that Ocean Park will greet guests on Saturday while also indicating that conventions and trade shows - almost completely absent in the first half of this year - will return in July, with the Hong Kong Book Fair.
Secretary Yau advised “we want to reboot the economy in the second half of this year through new initiatives in tourism, external trade and trade insurance services.
“We are confident we will ride out the economic doldrums.”
Ocean Park’s reopening will see the Hong Kong Government owned attraction allow children under age 11 to get in free while adults will have a discounted price and cash vouchers.
The panda exhibit will be closed, as keepers observe whether the female panda is pregnant
Secretary Yau said while social-distancing rules might still restrict local tourism to a degree, the industry was putting measures in place to ensure public health.
Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman Pang Yiu-kai, told the South China Morning Post that he is confident people were ready to start spending money locally again, stating “people have been really hungry to go out and enjoy themselves, and they have been waiting for attractions to open.
"I think this is great news to a lot of Hong Kong people. I have no concerns that Ocean Park will not be able to bring in local tourists."
Secretary Yau is also aiming for Hong Kong to be among regional ‘travel bubbles’ with neighbours that have the Coronavirus pandemic under control.
He added “we are starting to explore the possibilities of some bilateral arrangements where Hong Kong can work with countries or economies where we’re both (out from under) the risk of the epidemic.”
The nations involved include South East Asian countries as well as Japan and Korea.
Ron Merriman, Managing Director-China for global consultancy MR-ProFun, will be highlighting what a study of the reopening of China’s attractions means for soon-to-reopen visitor attractions worldwide in a feature in the next issue of Australasian Leisure Management.
Images: Ocean Park's Wild Twister Ride (top) and the city by night (below).
29th May 2020 - Study tracks post-Coronavirus attractions re-openings in China
20th May 2020 - Hong Kong legislators struggle with Ocean Park bailout
6th May 2020 - Shanghai Disneyland announces plans for 11th May reopening
6th April 2020 - Extended closure announced for UAE theme parks
20th March 2020 - Reports indicate reopening of theme parks and museums in China
26th January 2020 - Coronavirus fears sees closure of Hong Kong and Shanghai Disney resorts
16th January 2020 - Hong Kong’s Ocean Park reveals future vision as adventure-themed attraction
23rd December 2019 - Attendances at Disney’s theme parks beats the world’s top sporting leagues
2nd December 2019 - Hong Kong Leisure Services impacted by protests
4th November 2019 - Hong Kong Disneyland annual 10K event promotes inclusivity and healthy living
13th September 2019 - Protests lead to postponement of Hong Kong Open WTA Tour event
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