SeaWorld intends to phase out its longstanding killer whale show at its San Diego park next year as part of a comprehensive strategy unveiled Monday to re-position the embattled company amid persistent criticisms of how it treats its orcas.
In its place would be a new orca experience debuting in 2017, described as “informative” and designed to take place in a more natural setting that would carry a “conservation message inspiring people to act.” The announcement is contained in a company document posted online in advance of a webcast this morning in which SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby and other senior executives will unveil their vision for the company and its collection of 11 parks.
During that webcast, Manby announced that SeaWorld will partner with San Diego hotel owner and developer Evans Hotels to build a resort on underdeveloped areas of the SeaWorld San Diego park. Evans currently operates nearby Mission Bay hotels, including the Bahia and Catamaran properties.
“We are not announcing a time frame, but we have signed the partnership,” said Manby, pointing to the lucrative revenue growth that comes with a theme park resort hotel. “We love the Evans hotel group…They will lead the collaboration with local officials to get that approved.”
Just last week, Manby hinted that there would be a new attraction coming to the San Diego park and said that a portion of the $100 million allocated for a project to expand its killer whale tanks would be diverted for that purpose. In its online presentation, SeaWorld references a new capital investment for the park in 2017 and a re-allocation of the dollars that were to be spent on the so-called Blue World tank expansion project.