Across its 12 parks, SeaWorld saw 494,000 fewer guests during the start of the crucial summer season, causing attendance to fall 7.6% to 5.98 million visitors. The company blamed much of the decline on far fewer tourists from Latin America and a shift in the timing of the Easter and Memorial Day holidays.
Read more from The LA Times.
It's my understanding that the numbers at Disney and Universal are pretty flat as well, largely due to the Latin influence. That seemed crazy to me, but a friend and neighbor who sells real estate primarily to folks from Brazil (where she's originally from) says that the exchange rate in particular is just killing them. People can't afford to come here.
I wanted to circle back to this because this is even more evidence - well actually direct quotes - from the CEO that the orca issue and Blackfish negativity really affected the company, and it wasn't just a "they didn't add anything in Orlando" problem.
In the transcripts from the 2Q call, Manby actually broke up California and Texas and both terribly those 2 parks performed. They are both now stabilizing after the brand/reputation spending.... but California is down 2% so far this year, compared to down 8% last year and down 13% the year before. Texas is up 2% this year, after 3 straight years of declines, including down 17% last year.
Up until the Latin American issue this year, Orlando was actually the best performing SeaWorld park following the Blackfish turmoil. Blackfish and the orcas had a very real, negative effect on the company particularly in California... it wasn't a lack of new attractions in Orlando (outside of the largest attraction expansion ever in SeaWorld history - Antarctica).
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