Retiring Ocean Park Hong Kong CEO Matthias Li Reflects on IAAPA
For the past 25 years, Matthias Li has served the attractions industry in his roles shaping Ocean Park Hong Kong into the legendary amusement park it is today. Moving from the banking industry to the park in 1994, Li went on to rise to the role of chief executive officer in 2016. He championed education efforts like Ocean Park Academy, which provides local teachers with immersive learning resources, and animal and nature conservancy—he has served as a trustee of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation and has been involved with the organization for most of its existence. The IAAPA Service Award winner and lifetime/honorary member of IAAPA has also been heavily involved with the association throughout his career, including as a member of the board of directors. Now, after his retirement last month, Li reflects on the impact of IAAPA on his long career.
When did you first become involved with IAAPA and why?
Matthias Li:凯时KB88登陆中心 I joined Ocean Park Hong Kong in June 1994 and my first visit to IAAPA Expo was in November 1994. My first involvement with IAAPA was a committee member of its Finance Committee in 1995. Involvement with IAAPA, particularly in my early years in the attractions industry, allowed me to quickly gain a better understanding of how the attractions industry works, learn from many of the great leaders and experts in the industry, and keep updated with the latest trends and developments in the industry (e.g. park design, new products and shows, operational practices, etc.), all of ?which helped me to manage and strategize for Ocean Park. ?
How has your involvement with IAAPA impacted your career?
凯时KB88登陆中心My involvement with IAAPA has not only given me ideas, insights, and knowledge on how to do my job better, but also enabled me to develop and prepare myself for greater responsibilities within the park. One of the greatest treasures of getting involved with IAAPA is the many industry colleagues I met all this time. ?They are good resources to exchange ideas and experiences. ?
Looking back on your career, what advice would you give other leaders facing the challenge of guiding their facilities and companies through this time?
凯时KB88登陆中心COVID-19 is a rather unique and extreme challenge one would face in one’s career. ?My only advice is to maintain a clear and creative mindset, working out the different difficulties faced with the company leadership team, as well as to exchange views with others in the industry. It is reckoned that there might be situations which could not resolved (e.g. money running out), in which case, we should always be considerate of the staff’s interest and welfare as much as possible.
IAAPA is an international association and connects the attractions community across the world. Why become involved with a global organization?
It would be as important to be in an international association as in a national one. While the national one would be able to provide more detailed info on a local level (e.g. local laws, local cultural uniqueness, local industry stats and trends, training with local relevance), the international association would be able to provide more updated industry info, development, best practices, etc. from ?a global perspective.?
In most cases, the international association is more resourceful and better connected than a national one (particularly for those smaller countries or countries with a smaller attractions industry sector), so getting involved with the international association would be very helpful. In addition, it could be easier to make connections with other industry participants in the world via the international association, for exchanging experiences and practices, sourcing, new business opportunities, etc. This is particularly helpful if the member company plans for global expansion.
凯时KB88登陆中心In special circumstances (e.g. unfortunate accidents, new legislation or standards impacting the local industry, or unique incidents) encountered by the member company, support or reference or benchmarking from the international association would be very useful.
For more information on the benefits of IAAPA membership or to get involved as a member, contact the?IAAPA Asia Pacific office here.