ORLANDO, Fla. -- SeaWorld Entertainment is continuing its turnaround in attendance and revenue, with both jumping in the second quarter, the company said Monday.
- SeaWorld continues upswing in revenue, attendance
- Orlando-based company reports both are up in 2nd quarter
- Company credits 'new pricing strategies,' cost-cutting
Attendance was up almost 5 percent to 6.4 million visitors at the Orlando-based company's theme parks, it said. That's about 300,000 more than in the second quarter of 2017. Revenue also rose almost 5 percent to $392 million.
Much of that growth was attributed to double-digit increases in season-pass sales and in-park spending by visitors, SeaWorld executives said during an earnings call Monday.
SeaWorld reported a net income of $23 million, after losing $176 million in last year's second quarter.
"We are seeing growth in attendance and revenue as a result of our new pricing strategies, enhanced communications activities and strong operational execution," interim CEO John Reilly said in a news release Monday.
The company has also been cutting costs. SeaWorld said it reached its goal of cutting $40 million. Last year, the company eliminated 350 jobs at its corporate offices and parks in Orlando and San Diego.
SeaWorld plans to make an additional $50 million in cuts and is "actively working to find other opportunities where possible."
Since the release of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," SeaWorld has seen declining attendance and revenue.
In response, SeaWorld announced in 2016, it would be ending its orca breeding program. The company also said it would phase out its orca shows, first in San Diego and then in Orlando and San Antonio in 2019.
In the years since, the company has shifted its priorities to wildlife conservation efforts and new attractions.
SeaWorld plans to open a new show, ride or event at each of its 12 parks every year.
This year, the company has introduced Electric Ocean at its other parks. The event debuted in Orlando in 2017. SeaWorld also opened Ray Rush, a water slide, at Aquatica Orlando this spring.
Infinity Falls, a water raft ride set for Orlando, is expected to open sometime this summer. Reilly said the company was "disappointed" with the late opening date but said Infinity Falls will be one of the best raft rides in the world.
During the earnings call, executives were asked about the competition from Disney World and Universal Orlando. Reilly said he believes SeaWorld can remain competitive.
Part of the plan is for the company to open attractions ahead of its competitors.
Next spring, SeaWorld is set to open a Sesame Street-themed land in Orlando. The company also filed a permit last month for a project called "AQO Project 2019. The proposed water attraction would be located at Aquatica Orlando, on the south side of the water park.
But 2019 is going to be a big year in the theme park world. Disney plans to open two Star Wars-theme lands, one at Disneyland in California in summer 2019 and the other at Disney World in Florida in fall 2019.
On Monday, SeaWorld also announced it has reached a tentative settlement with the SEC over allegations the company misled investors about the impact "Blackfish" had on park attendance and revenue.
As part of the proposed $4 million settlement, SeaWorld will not admit to or deny any charges.
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