Hong Kong’s Ocean Park and Disneyland Resort vie for customers from China’s ‘Greater Bay Area’

Kanis Leung
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Hong Kong’s Ocean Park and Disneyland Resort vie for customers from China’s ‘Greater Bay Area’

Hong Kong’s two major theme parks are vying to attract visitors from the “Greater Bay Area” as the multibillion-dollar mega bridge and express rail line linking the city to mainland China prepare to open.

Ocean Park unveiled its promotion strategies for tourists across the border on Tuesday, offering discounts of more than 30 per cent.

A week earlier, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort revealed the launch of exclusive packages for residents of the bay area, the region comprising Hong Kong, Macau and nine Guangdong province cities, which the central government wants to integrate into a dynamic tech and business hub.

Loss-making Ocean Park, in Wong Chuk Hang, noted that the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge would shorten travel time for mainland visitors. Its chief executive, Matthias Li Sing-chung, said he believed more visitors from cities within a six-hour rail trip of Hong Kong would consider visiting the city.

“We, of course, hope to see double-digit growth [in the number of bay area visitors], but it is really hard to estimate before the opening of the rail and the bridge,” Li said.

“However, I believe these [projects] will benefit the whole tourism industry.”

The HK$84.4 billion rail line is scheduled to open next month. The multibillion-dollar bridge is expected to commence services later this year.

Ocean Park, which had 5.8 million visitors last year, rolled out four promotion packages.

One new special ticket, priced at HK$650, allows visitors to enter the park twice from October 2018 to March 2019. That is more than HK$300 cheaper than the cost of two separate adult tickets, which cost HK$480. Tourists from Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Chaoshan, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Nanchang, Wuhan, Changsha and Guiyang can enjoy the discount.

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The park had three other packages on offer to tourists coming to the city via the rail or the bridge from designated cities. One of them cost about HK$420, for one park ticket and a one-way cross-border bus trip from the bridge’s Zhuhai Port terminal to the park.

The park’s rival, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, meanwhile, launched tailor-made offers exclusively for residents in the bay area.

A multi-day pass includes three visits to the theme park between July 1 this year and Jan 31 next year and a one-night hotel stay. It costs HK$1,395, more than HK$400 cheaper than the price of three park tickets, which would cost HK$1,857.

Considering the competition, Li said he believed every attraction had its own strengths, and whether the tourists would be attracted to his park also depended on their travel plans.

“If they want to go to a theme park and visit nearby shopping malls or other places, of course, our park is more convenient,” he said.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun said the bridge and the high-speed rail line could help boost business at the two theme parks. But he said the bridge would benefit Disneyland more because the park is on Lantau Island, where the bridge begins.

“The coaches just go to the park [through the bridge] one by one. It should be a lot easier,” he said.

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