SeaWorld to lay off 350 workers, blames poor attendance

By Ray Downs  |  Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:42 AM
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Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Due to decreased attendance, SeaWorld will lay off 350 workers, the company announced Wednesday.

SeaWorld spokesperson Aimee Jeansonne-Becka said the cuts will mostly affect administrative jobs, reported the Orlando Sentinel. But workers will also be cut at its parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Diego, Calif, as well as the company's corporate headquarters.

"It's hard," Jeansonne-Becka said. "These type of initiatives affect real people, but it's what we need to do to move the business forward."

The company blamed "public perception issues" for decreased attendance, most notably at its San Diego location, reported CNN.

SeaWorld has suffered public relations problems since the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which criticized the company for its treatment of its killer whales.

In December 2016, SeaWorld cut 320 jobs as part of a restructuring process to focus on "reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, reducing duplication of functions and improving the company's operations through proven benchmarks," the company said at the time.

It added: "These changes are being made to best position our company for long-term success, and so that we can continue to do great things for animals across the globe."

But attendance has continued to drop. In August, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby told shareholders that attendance dropped by 353,000 visitors during the first six months of 2017.

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