Knott’s parent company sees $1 billion revenue drop and 20 million visitor decline amid pandemic – Orange County Register

Knott’s parent company sees $1 billion revenue drop and 20 million visitor decline amid pandemic – Orange County Register

Knott’s Berry Farm’s parent company saw a $1 billion drop in revenue and a decline of nearly 20 million visitors during the six-month-long COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered nearly half of Cedar Fair’s theme parks.

Cedar Fair suffered a $625 million decline in net revenue and a 11.9 million visitor drop in attendance during the company’s third quarter, according to a preliminary report. Those losses were compounded by a $429 million decline in revenue and an attendance drop of 8 million visitors during the company’s second quarter.

SEE ALSO: California to issue theme park reopening guidelines this week, state officials say

Since July, Knott’s has reopened on a limited basis without rides for a series of food, beer and wine events.

Cedar Fair reopened theme parks this summer in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri while closing locations in Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan and Northern California for the rest of 2020. The company left the door open to a full return this year of Knott’s and Canada’s Wonderland — two of the chain’s largest parks.

SEE ALSO: Knott’s Berry Farm frustrated with lack of California theme park reopening plans: ‘We’re ready to open’

To put attendance drop into perspective, the 20 million visitor decline amounts to 77% of the 25.9 million people that visited Cedar Fair theme parks in 2019, based on Themed Entertainment Association/AECOM data.

The reopened Cedar Fair theme parks operated with limited attendance capacity due to the pandemic.

“While attendance levels were somewhat soft upon initially reopening, we are pleased with how demand trends have improved and are encouraged with this positive momentum as we look ahead to 2021,” Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Taste of Fall-O-Ween: Everything you can eat and drink at the Knott’s food and beer fest

Initial attendance upon reopening was below original expectations, according to the report.

“The timing of park openings from mid-June through mid-July coincided with growing concerns about spikes in COVID-19 cases during that period,” according to the report. “Due to the soft demand trends, park operating calendars have been adjusted for the remainder of 2020, including reducing operating days per week and operating hours within each operating day.”

SEE ALSO: Will Knott’s Berry Farm drop reservations and cut days when theme park reopens?

Attendance at reopened parks ranged from 20% to 25% initially to 35% to 40% in late August.

“On several days in August, attendance at several parks easily exceeded 50% of prior-year attendance,” according to the report.

SEE ALSO: Knott’s Berry Farm plans to reward season passholders with loyalty program perks

One bright spot for Cedar Fair: The number of season passholders has increased by 80,000 since mid-June. Cedar Fair expects to have more than 1.76 million passholders through the end of the 2021 season.

A higher reliance on season pass visitors at reopened Cedar Fair parks led to a decrease in admission spending.

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