Ocean Park posted a deficit of HK$31.8 million in the financial year ending June 30, despite public funding of HK$1.45 billion.
The park posted a profit of HK$1.92 billion in the previous financial year which reversed the losses of the previous four years – thanks to a government subsidy of HK$3 billion.
But it is again in the red as revenue nearly halved to HK$393.6m year-on-year and visitor numbers fell by more than a third to 1.4m per year. compared to 2019-2020, according to the park’s financial report.
Ocean Park said in a press release that the decline was the result of its 40% fiscal year closure – the equivalent of 146 days – between July 1 last year and February 17 this year, in accordance to the mandate of the government due to the pandemic.
“The closure has completely cut off the source of income for visitors,” he said.
“The park reopened on February 18 but at very limited capacity with mainly local visits.”
The park also posted a net operating deficit of HK$1.11 billion this year before offsetting a grant of HK$841.5 million as part of government financial support to subsidize its operating expenses.
After that, the park recorded a net operating deficit of HK$270.1 million, which was 77% less than the net operating deficit of HK$1.17 billion the previous year.
Between July 1 last year and June 30 this year, the park received HK$1.45 billion to support its operations and capital expenditure, complete the Water World development project and settle its current debts and any compensation carried over from last year.
“We are extremely grateful to the government for their financial support and for jointly formulating Ocean Park’s future strategy,” said Ivan Wong Chi-fai, CEO of Ocean Park Corp.
“These have not only allowed Ocean Park Corp to maintain operations and launch Water World Ocean Park, but also to reinvent itself as a new resort and leisure destination.”
The report says the park has undertaken emergency saving initiatives to reduce the impact of Covid, including tight controls on operating and discretionary expenses, energy savings, unpaid leave, reductions in wages and a hiring freeze.
“The programs and events were carried out in a very agile and flexible way to allow rapid turnover and optimal budget management,” he said.
Wong said that despite a still challenging operating environment, the company has reimagined the Ocean Park experience with new concepts.
“As a result, we have attracted new visitors, including health, sports and fitness enthusiasts, nature adventurers, pet lovers, plant and flower enthusiasts, etc.” -he declares.
“The immense public enthusiasm generated by our new attempts has shown that the Park is on the right track.”
Wong said it was encouraging for the park to provide conservation and education work amid various Covid restrictions.
From 2020 to 2021, the park has developed a city-wide conservation program that has mobilized some 50,000 students to preserve three local species – Acropora corals, green sea turtle and golden butterflyfish.