HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s legislators approved a HK$5.4 billion (US$692 million) 12-month lifeline for Ocean Park, the city’s homegrown theme park.
But the bailout might come at a price with legislators suggesting the park should sell off some of its land for commercial purposes.
Tax payers will be footing the bill for the much loved but struggling attraction, which has been closed since January 26 and was in danger of going into liquidation this month.
Originally the government had planned a HK$10.6 billion fund, but financial constraints thrown up by the pandemic has forced the amount to be halved.
Ocean Park isn’t out of the woods yet, however.
With Hong Kong’s tourism industry in pause due to the global pandemic, and the on-going issues of social unrest, it will be a challenge for the park to increase business within the next 12 months.
“We can’t see the tourism industry having recovered significantly in a year’s time,” said tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing. “Keeping the park running as a traditional attraction will not help much.”
He went on to suggest the park follow in the footsteps of the West Kowloon Cultural District, which supplemented its income by selling some of its land for commercial use.