The idea of an underwater theme park is intriguing albeit not the first. But Pearl of Dubai, which is still in the midst of design planning and was first announced in 2014, is different as it will be built on The World, an artificial archipelago of over 300 islands. Nickelodeon's proposed underwater resort and theme park, however, will be built in Palawan - an island known as Asia's hidden gem to travellers and "the last ecological frontier" to conservation groups for its pristine coastlines, clear waters, and lush forests, which are some of the oldest and most diverse in Southeast Asia.
The park will be part of a 400-hectare (1,000-acre) undersea development showcasing the area's marine life, giving fans a chance to "interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love" while "advocating ocean protection" and conserving coral reefs, according to the statement released by Viacom International Media Networks, which owns Nickelodeon. It would open in 2020 and feature restaurants and lounges six metres (20 feet) below sea level.
Environmentalists, however, are saying otherwise. Greenpeace said it would destroy the area's world-famous marine ecosystem while Mayo-Anda, executive director of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center said, "I am wary because we have had problems already with resorts built in mangrove areas."
"Why build a viewing deck when you have the whole paradise to enjoy?" — Vince Cinches of Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Despite Nickelodeon's announcement, The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, a government body, said the project had yet to be approved.