It's been a record-breaking year for Hong Kong's rival theme parks - and their battle for the tourist crowd is set to continue into the New Year with new attractions scheduled to open throughout 2011.
Ocean Park - which first opened its doors in 1977 - is nearing completion of its new "Aqua City" section and the addition of two new hotels. And the park says it is on target for a record 5.1 million visitors (up eight per cent from the previous year) and HK$986 million (95 million euro) in revenue over the past 12 months.
"Aqua City" will boast "Asia's largest aquarium" among other attractions when it opens in the first quarter of 2011 and theme park management have been aggressively marketing themselves across the border into mainland China - with immediate results.
The park says 53 per cent of all its visitors are now coming in from mainland China. And it plans to the new year to open until 7.30pm every night while including fireworks shows after dark - a direct response to the success Hong Kong Disneyland has had with its own pyrotechnics, which kick off around its' 8pm closing time each night.
Hong Kong Disneyland, meanwhile, will by the end of 2011 have opened "Toy Story Land" - based on the popular movie franchise and the first of three additional attractions being built within the park, which will also spend the year celebrating its fifth anniversary.
The Hong Kong park has also been spreading its marketing campaigns throughout the region and has just reported record numbers from India (up 80 per cent), Thailand and the Philippines (up 30 per cent). The park expects by year's ends to have seen around five million visitors through its gates, up from 4.8 million the previous year and the best result since the park opened.
As well as keeping an eye on each other's developments, both Hong Kong theme parks will no doubt be watching developments over the border now that work has been cleared to start on the US$3.5 billion (2.6 billion euro) Shanghai Disneyland, scheduled to open sometime in 2014.
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