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Dolphin Cove swims offshore

BY NEKIESHA REID Business reporter
Friday, August 17, 2012

DOLPHIN Cove is pressing ahead with plans to set up a marine park outside Jamaica.

The tourist attraction has already spent $49 million acquiring land in a neighbouring Caribbean country, and plans to spend US$2.2 million ($196 million), not including the cost of the marine mammals, to establish the park.

But Dolphin Cove's chairman, Stafford Burrowes, declined to say where the land was bought as local government approval has not yet been given.

The company is looking at half a dozen overseas locations and hopes to have expanded to three within the next five years, Burrowes said.

The marine attraction's three existing locations posted mixed results for the three months to June 30.

Ocho Rios, the oldest of the parks, saw revenue for the quarter increase by 11 per cent over the same period in 2011, but its net profit fell by 10 per cent, from $58 million to $52 million.

It hasn't yet reached full operational capacity, according to the financial statements.

The Ocho Rios park still has spare capacity which will be available as the number of hotel rooms in the catchment area rises and cruise ship arrivals increase, said the company.

The newer Negril location, still in its growth phase, saw its revenue climb by 46 per cent year over year, from $61 million during the three months to June 30, 2011 to $89 million in the review period.

And while the park's revenue was just over a third of Ocho Rios's intake ($241 million) during the quarter, its profit was $35 million, up from $14 million in the comparative period in 2011.

The Dolphin Cove location in Montego Bay, which caters exclusively to guests of the Half Moon hotel, saw revenue fall from $19 million to $17 million, and posted a $3 million loss during the review period versus breaking even in the comparative period last year.

The Group's overall profit for the three months to June 30 climbed by 18 per cent, from $71 million in the comparative period last year to $84 million.

“We're having a good year,” Burrowes said, adding that the winter season may see even more profits, particularly from the Ocho Rios park.

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