HONG KONG, May 21 (Xinhua) -- China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said on Thursday that it planned to reposition Hong Kong Ocean Park to highlight its core strengths on conservation and education as well as its natural environment as a seaside resort.
After failing again to decide whether to approve the government's proposed urgent bailout of over 54 billion Hong Kong dollars (around 697 million U.S. dollars) to keep the 43-year-old theme park afloat over next 12 months, the HKSAR Legislative Council (LegCo) Finance Committee will hold the third meeting on Friday to continue its discussion about the issue.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR government Edward Yau released a supplementary report on the park's repositioning, which will be presented on Friday's meeting.
Yau said that in the future the theme park should steer away from the conventional development model of theme park and scale down its rides which incur high maintenance costs.
"We consider that Ocean Park in future should focus on leveraging its rich and leading experience in education and conservation, capitalizing on its innate advantages, and devoting itself to relevant research and public promotion work," he said.
As a tourism destination against hills and overlooking sea, the Ocean Park has great potential to develop further into a major resort and leisure destination and drive economic development in Hong Kong and Hong Kong's Southern District, Yau said.
Based on the repositioning plan, he said the HKSAR government will further review and adjust Ocean Park's operation model together with its functions and legal framework so as to provide greater flexibility for its operation, increase revenue and contain costs, with the objective of averting its dependence on government funding.
Yau called on the LegCo Finance Committee to grant approval as soon as possible for the funding so that the park can maintain its operation and preserve jobs for over 2,000 employees.