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14 January 2009

Ocean Adventure undertakes P283-M expansion

Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI), the operator of the popular Ocean Adventure Marine Park here, announced on Tuesday that it will undertake a P283-million expansion program this year to develop an integrated world-class eco-tourism complex.

“The SBMEI is now in the midst of a major capital expansion program that will enhance the capacity of both our Ocean Adventure Marine Theme Park and Camayan Beach Resort and Hotel,” said company president John Corcoran.
The planned eco-tourism complex will offer amenities “not found elsewhere,” he added.

Corcoran said the Ocean Adventure Marine Park will have an all-new Sea Lion Stadium, with a sea lion holding and exhibits area that will allow underwater viewing for visitors.

“Additionally, there will be a new indoor multi-purpose theater, a new aviary exhibit area, an Ecology Theater which will feature educational terrestrial animal shows, and an Adventure Beach events area,” he said.

The marine park complex will also be enhanced with the planned Shady Grove Grill Restaurant, recreation and entertainment facilities for corporate and school groups, as well as new showers and changing rooms, he added.

Meanwhile, the nearby Camayan Beach Resort that SBMEI also operates will have a new 42-room “Sunset” wing that will offer guests with “incredible views of Ilanin Cove in Subic Bay,” Corcoran said.

The resort, which is also dive center accredited by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), will also be connected to the beach by a new boardwalk under the SBMEI expansion program, he added.

“Continuing (SBMEI’s) commitment to the environment, a second sewage treatment plant will be part of the expansion program,” Corcoran said.

SBMEI’s expansion program is scheduled to be completed within two years and will generate 160 jobs during the construction phase.

Meanwhile, 85 new jobs will be created once the new facilities become operational, Corcoran said.

Ultimately, he added, the Ocean Adventure integrated complex will also feature a retirement village, resort/vacation villas, spa, boutique specialty shops, and more eco-adventure facilities and animal exhibits.

Corcoran added that the SBMEI expansion program was made possible by the increasing popularity of the marine park and demand for its products.

He added that the company’s projected revenue increases and resulting bottom-line “will be strong even given current economic conditions.”

The Ocean Adventure’s popularity as a tourism attraction in Subic is expected to be further bolstered by a recent court decision clearing the marine animal show in the said theme park.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and some environmental groups alleged in 2001 that the SBMEI violated Republic Act 8485, or the animal welfare act, for using dolphins, sea lions and false killer whales in various animal shows here.

However, the Court of Appeals said recently that the petition against the SBMEI was “devoid of merit.” (SBMA Corporate Communications)

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