HONG KONG government has given the green light for the city’s two theme parks to reopen with the move seen by a tourism academic as an opportunity for the venues to test new ideas.
Ocean Park’s chairman has already indicated the park will introduce staycation offers that include activities such as camping, hiking and yoga, depending on whether the easing of restrictions go ahead as planned.
No plans have been announced by Hong Kong Disneyland Resort to follow the September 18 reopening guideline, but the resort continues to offer staycations at its hotels.
Both parks have developed meetings facilities and incentive packages over the years, but business events have been put on hold as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also in Hong Kong, the city’s association for convention and exhibition organisers has presented government officials with a set of standard operating procedures that can be adopted to help with the re-opening of business events.
“Hong Kong is ready to re-open exhibitions, to stimulate the economy and get industry moving again,” Stuart Bailey, HKECIA said in a social media post.
“HKECIA has collaborated with association partners including UFI, AEO and SISO, to produce a set of comprehensive SOPs which we are confident will keep all stakeholders secure and safe to make a long-awaited return to exhibition halls in Hong Kong.”
The planned re-openings come as the city recorded its first day of zero local infections on September 15, the lowest since June 30. Nine new cases, however, were found the following day including five transmitted locally while the others were among arrivals to Hong Kong from abroad.
Further relaxation of Hong Kong’s Covid restrictions will also see bars and restaurants having permission to stay open till midnight. Amid other rules on capacity, limits on the number of people to each table will be raised from two to four.
Though the theme park re-openings are unlikely to reverse the severe revenue hits both have suffered from even before the Covid outbreak, tourism experts see the announcement as a chance for the venues to prepare for any further easing of restrictions.
Professor Brian King, of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, told the city’s main English-language radio station that both theme parks have a chance of survival even at 50 per cent capacity. The move would also enable the parks to test new ideas, he told RTHK.