Plans to develop the Nickelodeon Resort and Attraction in Coron, Palawan was met with strong opposition from the travel trade, environmentalists and the general public, thousands of whom made their displeasure known in online petitions in just two days.
AA Yaptinchay, general manager of Kirschner Travel Manila, which offers marine wildlife tours in Palawan, said: “Tourists have been enjoying Palawan’s nature as the main attraction. We want to feature Palawan as the Philippines' last frontier, naturally perfect as it is.
Coral World Park concept art
“A monstrous construction like the Nickelodeon theme park will only degrade this environment and present it ‘artificially’. There is no point in doing that except to profit from its exploitation,” continued Yaptinchay, who is also the founder of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines.
Al B Linsangan III, president of Palawan-based Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours, said she found the development to be a “weird idea”.
Believing that Palawan should be a destination of natural wonders, he urged: “Do not reinvent the natural and exotic experience (in Palawan).”
But there has been a misunderstanding, according to a statement released yesterday afternoon by Coral World Park Undersea Resorts (CWP), partner of Viacomm International Media Network for the Nickelodeon Resort and Attraction.
CWP marketing and communications director, Susan Lee, said: “There has never been any form of communication from our side mentioning a theme park. Our plans are to build a resort and attraction, which we are designing as an undersea attraction with an ocean conservation focus”.
The release said that "the ‘undersea themed’ CWP is land-based and designed to meet the international standards" and “the only infrastructure in the water is floating and all developments are on land”.
The facility is sited on a private property and will undergo all the necessary approvals from the government before construction starts, according to the release.