SeaWorld attendance, revenue continue to decline

By Ashley Carter, Attractions Insider
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 07, 2017, 2:15 PM EST

SeaWorld Entertainment’s attendance continued its downward spiral in the third quarter, as the company dealt with rebuilding its reputation.

Attendance fell by 732,000 visitors in the quarter, compared with the same period in 2016, SeaWorld said Tuesday.

The company blamed the decline on hurricanes in Florida and Texas, which caused temporary closures at the parks.

The decline was primarily concentrated to the company’s parks in Orlando and San Diego. SeaWorld said fewer domestic visitors and competitive pressures hurt attendance, primarily at Orlando parks.

Revenues also dropped about 10 percent from $485.3 million to $437.7 million in the third quarter.

“We remain confident in our plan to drive growth over time by addressing reputational challenges and creating fun and meaningful guest experiences, while maintaining a sharp focus on financial discipline,” SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said in a statement.

The company continues to face challenges after backlash from the film “Blackfish.” The 2013 documentary called attention to the conditions of killer whales in captivity.

In the years since, SeaWorld ended its orca breeding program and began investing in new attractions. Infinity Falls, a new raft attraction, is set to open at SeaWorld Orlando next summer. Earlier this month, SeaWorld announced Aquatica Orlando would get a new water slide called Ray Rush. It’s slated to open by spring 2018.

SeaWorld also launched a new marketing campaign called “From Park to Planet,” which highlights the company’s environmental efforts.

Last month, SeaWorld announced it was cutting 350 jobs as part of a cost-saving measure. The company is projected to save $40 million by the end of 2018.

During a conference call Tuesday, Manby told investors he is confident SeaWorld will rebound.

He wouldn’t, however, comment on rumors that SeaWorld parks could be up for sale.

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