Just three weeks before Christmas, SeaWorld Entertainment announced it is eliminating 320 positions as it restructures its 12 theme parks.
Company officials said in a statement Tuesday that the goal is to reduce costs, increase efficiency and avoid duplicating jobs.
The announcement follows a drop in revenue reported during the last quarter and comes just weeks after SeaWorld decreased its ticket prices for the second time this year. Last March, the company announced it was ending its orca breeding program and its killer-whale shows following a public outcry after the movie Blackfish criticized SeaWorld’s care of the animals.
“It is an unfortunate, but necessary, consequence of the restructuring that some positions will be lost,” the statement said
Aimée Jeansonne Becka, senior director of corporate communications at|SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said both hourly and salaried positions would be impacted, and affected employees will receive job placement assistance and 60 days of severance benefits.
She said she could not comment on how many positions will be lost in Orlando. The company has parks in Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“It’s never good just before Christmas and upsetting for the people laid off, but 320 positions across 12 parks is not a huge number,” said Duncan Dickson, associate professor at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
“Joel Manby (SeaWorld’s CEO) is trying to reinvent the company,” Dickson added. “This is a premier theme park company going through rough times. They just need to get back on their feet again.”
This is the second large layoff at SeaWorld in the past two years. About 300 people lost their jobs in late 2014.