SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment reported a 15 percent decline in attendance and a $34 million drop in total revenues during the first quarter of 2017.
The quarterly report released Tuesday blamed the attendance drop of 491,000 guests on this year’s late Easter holiday, which fell in the second quarter rather than the first. Also, SeaWorld San Diego experienced an attendance drop once construction of its new Orca Encounter began in January for a planned summer opening.
Total revenues were $186.4 million, compared to $220.2 million in the first quarter of 2016. However, SeaWorld officials see the drops as just a temporary decline that will be fixed later in the year when new attractions open.
“Given the improving attendance trends we saw in April, and the incredibly robust lineup of new attractions we are launching in the coming weeks, we are well-positioned going into our seasonally important second and third quarters,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment.
Manby reported that season pass sales revenues for 2017 increased by nearly 6 percent. He added that the acquisition by Zhonghong Zhuoye Group of Blackstone Group‘s 21 percent stake in the company in March brings an opportunity for new growth in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
Manby told investors that SeaWorld expects to drive attendance by improving ticket sales through increased use of new pricing initiatives.
“We’re very excited about 2017, and look forward to reporting our progress throughout the year,” he said.