It has been a true honour to lead a unique theme park that champions education, conservation and entertainment
– Matthias Li
Following 25 years of service, Matthias Li, chief executive of Hong Kong attraction Ocean Park, has announced that he will retire at the start of July 2020, with the operator starting a global search to identify his successor.
Credited with turning a "local theme park into a world-class resort destination", Li joined Ocean Park in 1994 as the park's finance director and corporate secretary. He became deputy CEO in 2007, and finally CEO in 2016.
During his tenure, Li was the driving force behind several landmark developments at the park, including the arrival of giant pandas, the park's 40th-anniversary celebrations, and a major redevelopment that added more than 70 attractions between 2005 and 2012.
Ocean Park chair Leo Kung expressed gratitude for Li's "outstanding work and commitment" in transforming the park into what it is today, saying: "His stewardship and quest for innovation have resulted in remarkable achievements in the park's edutainment offerings, service excellence, conservation as well as community care efforts."
A number of additional development projects are also soon to come to fruition, including an interactive illuminated adventure and nightly multimedia "spectaculars" that will be launched in the park's lagoon area; a year-round, all-weather Water World; a new animal attraction; and a STEM learning hub.
Li holds a number of leadership roles within the Chinese attractions sector. He is a member of the Hong Kong Government's Tourism Strategy Task Force, and the current (invited) vice-chair of the China Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (CAAPA), by which he was named a "Leader of the Chinese Theme Park Industry" in 2015.
He also serves on the China Ropeway Association, the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association and its China Aquarium Committee. Li has developed an international profile too, having previously been a board member of IAAPA and former chair of IAAPA's Asia Pacific Regional Advisory Committee.
The man himself said he was extremely proud of Ocean Park's contribution to Hong Kong tourism, and the memories created for millions of guests, and he paid tribute to the dedicated staff he has worked with during his 25 years at the park.
"It has been a true honour to lead a unique theme park that champions education, conservation and entertainment," he said.