Cedric Li, 17, Sha Tin College
A small city with very little natural resources, Hong Kong relies mainly on industries such as tourism and financial services to ensure its survival. Our tourism industry has suffered recently because of competition from the mainland and the Asia-Pacific region.
Politicians and government officials have pussyfooted around the issue, with the most notable idea being the food truck scheme launched by then financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah. I think we must be bolder than that to attract more visitors to the city. Hong Kong needs a solution, right now, and theme parks present a viable option.
Although we already have two such parks, neither has really focused on promoting Hong Kong’s success story among tourists. The Shanghai Disney Resort is three times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, and Ocean Park has lost its “personality” in the past few years. Its once impressive aquariums and wildlife exhibits have made way for roller coasters and other rides, which are not very attractive to potential tourists.
I really think a third theme park could boost Hong Kong’s international image, as well as bring in more tourists. It should include exhibits that celebrate Hong Kong’s unique diversity, a place which combines the best of the East and the best of the West. The park also has to acknowledge our rich history and ecological wonders. Such a place would bring a new dimension to Hong Kong’s tourism industry, offering a unique experience to visitors. But we should not think that this would solve all of Hong Kong’s problems. It would be a good starting point that could eventually lead to healthy economic growth and better living standards here.
Many Hongkongers have lost their sense of identity in recent years. This has resulted in a divided society, marked by social apathy and unrest. Hong Kong needs something it can rally around, and a theme park that celebrates our virtues, rather than our differences, could reinvigorate the city.
Hong Kong’s success has always depended on its ability to adapt, and now, more than ever, we need to rekindle that spirit and embark on our path to socioeconomic development.
Joy Lee, 15, South Island School
If there is one thing that Hong Kong doesn’t need, it’s a third theme park. There are obvious reasons for this. Firstly, we already have Disneyland and Ocean Park. Secondly, a third theme park would cost a fortune; where would we get the money for such a project?
Disneyland and Ocean Park already serve the city’s tourism needs. For example, Disneyland will be expanded to include new zones based on the blockbuster, Frozen, and Marvel superhero films, while the Sleeping Beauty Castle will get a facelift. Meanwhile, Ocean Park has many attractions, including a Shark Aquarium and an Australian Outback Exhibit, with a world-class water park set to be introduced next year.
An argument for building a new park is that it has the potential to boost tourism. Ocean Park and Disneyland are already offering things that cater for most tourists, such as rides and themed zones. So a third theme park could easily become another white elephant. Look at the Kai Tak Sports Park, the Hong Kong-Shenzehn-Guangzhou Express Rail Link, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The government is spending billions of dollars on these projects and there is no guarantee it would make any money from them.
A new theme park would impose a huge financial burden on taxpayers without solving any of the city’s urgent social problems. I believe this money could be spent elsewhere, such as to build more public flats, and to provide a universal pension scheme, and more welfare assistance for the elderly and the underprivileged.
In conclusion, Hong Kong doesn’t need a third amusement park. Disneyland and Ocean Park will offer enough attractions for both Hongkongers and tourists alike for many years to come. Also, the disadvantages of setting up a third park far outweigh the benefits. There is no need to throw away good money at a really bad idea.