The eThekwini Municipality will continue to invest in uShaka Marine World and is actively exploring public private sector partnerships that can add exciting new attractions to Africa’s largest marine theme park.
This emerged from uShaka’s recently published Annual Report for the financial year ending June 30, 2016.
City officials as well as uShaka Marine World’s CEO, Stella Khumalo, celebrated another clean audit as well as sound results despite a tough year. Even though KwaZulu-Natal’s hospitality sector took a knock as a result of the drought and lacklustre growth within the overall economy, uShaka was still able to produce a 4% increase in total admissions as well as a 12% growth in revenue to R204, 16 million during the period under review.
In the report, Khumalo noted that uShaka has entered the next exciting phase in its life cycle with footfall expected to continue to steadily increase.
This next phase opens up opportunities for iconic new attractions with particular emphasis on the trend towards “entertainment with a conscience”.
“uShaka is in a unique position to drive conservation awareness through fun, knowledge and adventure. With this in mind, our overall strategy is to combine conservation and entertainment to create a more ‘Disney-feel’ at uShaka,” she said.
With the backing of SAAMBR, Sea World continues to promote marine conservation. This will continue through ensuring that the aquarium is stocked with attractive and educationally stimulating attractions and that dolphin and seal shows and penguin feeds are conservation orientated, educational and entertaining.
The extent to which this is important is best illustrated by the Sea Animal Encounters Island that opened in December 2015. This allowed guests to experience one on one interaction with sea animals, enabling direct access to the shark cage; snorkeling and the ocean walker, among others.
As the Annual Report figures show, this proved to be extremely popular. Immediately after the launch, revenues exceeded those of the previous year between 20-30%. This was sustained throughout 2016.