SeaWorld monitoring coronavirus as disease continues to spread
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SeaWorld monitoring coronavirus as disease continues to spread

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We’re working through and thinking through some contingency plans. We take health and safety very seriously for our employees, our guests or the animals under our care, and that’s where it would start

SeaWorld has seen "no discernible impact" stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, according to company CEO Sergio Rivera, who revealed that it's monitoring the situation as the disease spreads.

The infection, which has spread quickly through China and is now starting to have a significant impact in multiple countries worldwide, has caused havoc in the visitor attractions industry, with popular attractions such as Shanghai Disney forced to close in an effort to prevent its spread.

SeaWorld this week released its full-year financial report, which showed an earnings increase of 13.9 per cent to US$456.9m (€420m, £354m) for the year. For 2020 the company is targeting adjusted earnings of US$500m (€456.7m, £388.3m), though if the spread of coronavirus continues, that financial target could be affected.

"What I can tell you today is, we have seen no discernible impact on our attendance related to coronavirus. We are obviously very aware of and monitoring the situation," said Rivera, speaking during an earnings call.

"We have a high degree of confidence in our target. Obviously, there are events out there that could threaten us, and we recognise that.

"We’re working through and thinking through some contingency plans. We take health and safety very seriously for our employees, our guests or the animals under our care, and that’s where it would start."

The US currently has 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus, though a significant number of SeaWorld's visitors travel from Brazil and wider Latin America, as well as the UK. In the UK there are 15 confirmed cases, while a Brazilian who recently visited Italy has just been confirmed as the first coronavirus patient in South America. China, however, does not make up a significant part of SeaWorld's visitor numbers.

"We’ve seen SARS, we see the flu. We see a lot of exogenous events impact us earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, things of that nature," said Rivera. "But I don’t think we should draw parallels between things in the past and what coronavirus presents today.

"We've got confidence in our ability to achieve our higher-end earnings goal. We believe our 2020 slate of rides, attractions and events are the strongest in our history. We have confidence that we will deliver increased attendance, revenue and growth."

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SeaWorld has seen "no discernible impact" stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, according to company CEO Sergio Rivera, who revealed that it's monitoring the situation as the disease spreads.
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