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SeaWorld CEO reveals orca alternatives for Middle Eastern expansion
POSTED 25 Jul 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
CEO Joel Manby wants to move away from the animal entertainment centred attraction to a broader mix Credit: Shutterstock
SeaWorld’s first attraction outside of North America will be its first not to include killer whales, with CEO Joel Manby lining up several big alternatives for the company.

The company, which pledged its current generation of orcas would be its last in captivity earlier this year, has firmed up plans for a Middle Eastern expansion – rumoured to be coming to either Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia.

“We have moved to a definitive agreement stage, money has changed hands and we’re currently designing the park, but we haven’t made a public announcement of where and who – something we hope to to in the fall,” said SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby, speaking to Attractions Management.

Under Manby’s stewardship, SeaWorld has spent the last year-and-a-half redefining itself as a park that cares and one that wants to create memorable experiences.

Manby first announced progress in SeaWorld’s global expansion plans during a call regarding the company’s annual earnings report, saying the company had “moved to the next phase” of its international development strategy by signing an MoU with a Middle Eastern partner.

When SeaWorld announced the end to orca breeding at its parks, it said that its whales would “live out their lives at the company's park habitats”.

The move signals a new phase in the life of SeaWorld, with plans for a broader entertainment mix to replace its iconic orcas.

“Things are certainly progressing and it will be the first SeaWorld attraction ever to not have a killer whale facility,” Manby said. “We’re looking at other really big ideas in place of that.”

Manby also unveiled his vision for the future of SeaWorld: “Right now our parks are kind of built around large animal stadiums – dolphins, whales, sea lions etc,” he said. “We’re adding in an expanded ride mix with things like Mako, which we just launched in Orlando. We’re also looking at virtual reality to bring in animals that can’t be brought in live or to go behind the scenes with animals you can’t get near. We’re broadening the entertainment mix so we’re not just about animal entertainment venues, we want to be a caring animal company that’s really fun to visit but not just about animal entertainment.”

When asked about plans for further international expansion, Manby said it was certainly a possibility.

“When it comes to international expansion, yes we would like to do that but first-things-first we are currently very focused on getting the first one done in the Middle East. We are also looking at other Discovery Cove locations and we want to expand our resort strategy for our existing parks.”
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NEWS
SeaWorld CEO reveals orca alternatives for Middle Eastern expansion
POSTED 25 Jul 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
CEO Joel Manby wants to move away from the animal entertainment centred attraction to a broader mix Credit: Shutterstock
SeaWorld’s first attraction outside of North America will be its first not to include killer whales, with CEO Joel Manby lining up several big alternatives for the company.

The company, which pledged its current generation of orcas would be its last in captivity earlier this year, has firmed up plans for a Middle Eastern expansion – rumoured to be coming to either Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia.

“We have moved to a definitive agreement stage, money has changed hands and we’re currently designing the park, but we haven’t made a public announcement of where and who – something we hope to to in the fall,” said SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby, speaking to Attractions Management.

Under Manby’s stewardship, SeaWorld has spent the last year-and-a-half redefining itself as a park that cares and one that wants to create memorable experiences.

Manby first announced progress in SeaWorld’s global expansion plans during a call regarding the company’s annual earnings report, saying the company had “moved to the next phase” of its international development strategy by signing an MoU with a Middle Eastern partner.

When SeaWorld announced the end to orca breeding at its parks, it said that its whales would “live out their lives at the company's park habitats”.

The move signals a new phase in the life of SeaWorld, with plans for a broader entertainment mix to replace its iconic orcas.

“Things are certainly progressing and it will be the first SeaWorld attraction ever to not have a killer whale facility,” Manby said. “We’re looking at other really big ideas in place of that.”

Manby also unveiled his vision for the future of SeaWorld: “Right now our parks are kind of built around large animal stadiums – dolphins, whales, sea lions etc,” he said. “We’re adding in an expanded ride mix with things like Mako, which we just launched in Orlando. We’re also looking at virtual reality to bring in animals that can’t be brought in live or to go behind the scenes with animals you can’t get near. We’re broadening the entertainment mix so we’re not just about animal entertainment venues, we want to be a caring animal company that’s really fun to visit but not just about animal entertainment.”

When asked about plans for further international expansion, Manby said it was certainly a possibility.

“When it comes to international expansion, yes we would like to do that but first-things-first we are currently very focused on getting the first one done in the Middle East. We are also looking at other Discovery Cove locations and we want to expand our resort strategy for our existing parks.”
Sign up here to get the Attractions Management weekly ezine and every issue of Attractions Management magazine free on digital.
RELATED STORIES
Orca sanctuaries would be unsafe for animals, says SeaWorld CEO


SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has addressed the possibility of seaside sanctuaries for its whales, stating that the “experiment” by Baltimore’s National Aquarium to move its animals into such an enclosure could cause health problems.
SeaWorld announces poor Q1 results for 'transitional' 2016


Despite making a number of positive moves to redefine itself as a park that cares and one that wants to create memorable experiences, SeaWorld suffered a disappointing first quarter, with CEO Joel Manby saying he expects the trend to continue through the year.
Former SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison leaves company in board shakeup


SeaWorld Entertainment has announced the departure of former CEO Jim Atchison from the company’s board, also appointing two veteran theme park industry executives – Ron Bension and Donald Robinson – to roles at the head of the company.
SeaWorld creative added to ethics panel for TEA Summit


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World Leisure Congress 2022

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+ More diary  
 


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