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What happened

Shares of theme park operator Seaworld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS) fell 15.5% in August, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as investors fretted over a concerning quarterly report.

So what

Second quarter revenue dropped 5.2% to $371.1 million, though net income more than tripled to $17.8 million, or $0.21 per share. But the real alarm came from a nearly half-a-million-person decline, with only 5.98 million visitors in the quarter. 

Management said that a decline in Florida's parks in general was the main driver of the drop, due to a decline in Latin American and local attendance. Outside of Florida, visitation increased 67,000 in the first half of the year. 

The attendance drop led management to lower EBITDA guidance from a range of between $355 million and $365 million to a new range of $310 million to $340 million.

Now what

Attendance has been a big concern for Seaworld since the Blackfish documentary was released, and right now the trends aren't heading in a positive direction. But this time it looks more like economic trends that are keeping customers away rather than sentiment about the company's properties. Until attendance picks up, I wouldn't get too bullish on shares -- cost cutting can only go so far when fewer customers are entering a company's resorts each quarter.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.