Nickelodeon Scraps Plans to Build an Underwater Resort in the Philippines
After significant pushback from environmentalists and other concerned advocates, Viacom’s Nickelodeon is scrapping their plans to build an underwater resort on Palawan island in the Philippines.
The resort, which was announced earlier this year and expected to be complete by 2020, would have been the first of its kind, featuring restaurants and lounges submerged 20 feet below sea level. Nickelodeon planned to partner with Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc., Asia's first underwater resort developer, on the endeavor, giving visitors the chance to interact with their favorite Nickelodeon characters as well as the natural phenomena around them. The initial statement also touted a “multi-island experience” including “hidden lagoons, hot springs, and an animal reserve.”
However, the proposed resort immediately faced backlash from environmentalists who were outraged over the structure’s possible effect on Palawan’s fragile marine ecosystem. The largely untouched destination is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which conservationists feared would be put in danger.
An online petition to halt the project received more than 260,000 signatures. “Contrary to the press statement that the underwater theme park would ‘advocate ocean protection,’ it will accomplish the exact opposite," the petition said. "By building artificial structures, you will undeniably damage and disrupt Palawan's marine ecosystems — our Last Frontier.”
The petition added, “For a channel that targets children, Nickelodeon is setting a terrible example to the younger generation by taking away their right to enjoy our natural resources.”
Viacom released a statement saying, “[Viacom] and Nickelodeon will no longer be involved with this proposed development,” adding that the decision to halt the project was “mutually agreed upon” with their partner, Coral World Park. Nickelodeon has not confirmed whether or not the decision came as a direct result of the environmental backlash.