creative energy, he had transformed the area into a place for expatriates to gather in the 1980s. In theyears after 1997, when a significant number of expatriates had moved out of Hong Kong, Lan Kwai Fongbecame a place where the western educated locals and foreigners mingled. “To sustain your products, youneed to create excitement and make customers buy it”, Zeman said with regard to his Lan Kwai Fongsuccess. “I have created different products in Lan Kwai Fong that draw different people 24 hours a day,from breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hours, dinner and after dinner.”
In 2003, Hong Kong’s chief executive Tung Chee-hwa appointed Zeman to be Chairman of the board ofOcean Park Corporation. He had been compared to Richard Branson of the Virgin Group by the local mediafor his creative business ideas and marketing strategies.
Thomas Mehrmann, Chief Executive, Ocean Park Corporation
When Zeman was appointed Chairman of Ocean Park, he hired Thomas Mehrmann to replace RandolphGuthrie as chief executive. Mehrmann started his theme park career at Knott’s Berry Farm
in 1977 andfrom there he worked his way up through the ranks to become vice president of Park Operations andEntertainment. In 1998, he joined Six Flags Marine World
in California and later accepted an appointmentas vice president and general manager of Warner Brothers Movie World in Madrid in 2000. In Madrid, hehad the responsibility for the design, development and construction of the US$380 million Madrid MovieWorld project, an experience relevant to the revamp of Ocean Park.
“I was brought in to define a master plan for the park,” explained Mehrmann in an interview.
When Mehrmann first visited the Park, he immediately saw opportunities which he described as “lowhanging fruit” to improve the Park’s performance. Mehrmann joined Ocean Park in 2004 and was creditedfor returning the Park to profitability and raising visitor attendance.
Hong Kong’s Tourism Outlook
Strong Record Arrivals
Hong Kong’s tourism industry performed strongly in 2007. Government statistics indicated the territory’sinbound tourism continued to grow at a healthy rate, receiving 28.17 million visitors in the year, up 11.6%year-on-year [see Table 4.1 in E
]. Amongst them, more than 60.9% stayed overnight. Totaltourism expenditure
rose by 16.4% to HK$140.52 billion, inclusive of HK$34.7 billion from passengerinternational transport expenditure [see Table 5.1 in E
]. Average hotel occupancy droppedslightly from 87% in 2006 to 86% in 2007 and the average room rate for all hotels increased by 11.4% toHK$1,215.
The top five Asian markets in terms of visitor arrivals were Mainland China (55%), followed by Taiwan(7.9%), Japan (4.7%), USA (4.4%) and South Korea (3.1%).
China also led in terms of total spending byovernight visitors, amounting to HK$47.22 billion [see Table 5.2 in E
]. Overall, about 57% of thedestination consumption expenditure of overnight visitors went to shopping, with hotel bills and mealsoutside hotels capturing 22.5% and 11.9% respectively [see Table 5.4 in E
]. Spending onentertainment and tours was minimal at 2.2% and less than 1% respectively.
5Hong Kong Institute of Marketing (11 December 2004) “Lan Kwai Fong.Over Two Decades of Success”.6Crawford, Barclay (31 July 2006) “Mr. Enthusiasm”,
South China Morning Post
.7Knott's Berry Farm was America's first theme park and the 12th most-visited amusement park in the country.8Six Flags Marine World, renamed Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, was a combination of wild life park, theme park, and oceanarium,located in Northern California.9Crawford, Barclay (31 July 2006) “Mr. Enthusiasm”,
South China Morning Post
.10Stein, A, “International Entertainment's His Game,” California State University, Fullerton,http://www.fullerton.edu/50/spotlight/mehrmann., accessed 4 September, 200811Total tourism expenditure referred to total spending by incoming tourist to Hong Kong.12Hong Kong Tourism Board (2007),
A Statistical Review of Hong Kong Tourism 2007