SeaWorld Entertainment has entered into an exclusive deal with a Middle Eastern partner to open a theme park in the region, according to president and CEO of SeaWorld, Jim Atchison. However, the name of the partner was not revealed.
“The company recently entered into an exclusive six-month memorandum of understanding to assess the viability of a multi-park development in the Middle East, with a partner that has an established track record of opening and operating world-class attractions. We have worked diligently with our partner to identify the best theme park concepts and potential locations in the region and are moving forward to the next stage of the project,” says Atchison.
However, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. didn’t enjoy a good start in Q1 2014, as it reported drops in both revenue and attendance at SeaWorld and other parks. The company reported revenue of $212.3 million for the first three months of 2014 ending on March 31, a decrease of 11 per cent, when compared with $238.6m last year. Approximately 3.04 million people visited its parks during the same period, down by 13 per cent from 3.4 million visitors in 2013. However, guest spending rose by 2.2 per cent, from $68.19 to $69.72. Atchison was quick to blame the drop in business on Easter and spring break, and is expecting second-quarter figures to be better.
Opening an overseas park would put SeaWorld’s portfolio closer to competitors, such as The Walt Disney Co., Universal Parks & Resorts and Merlin Entertainments Group Plc., all of which have parks both in the US and internationally.
Dubai already includes similar entertainment parks, such as the Dubai Dolphinarium and the Dolphin Bay at Atlantis The Palm, where guests can play with dolphins and seals, as well as watch live animal shows.