December 17, 2016 12:29 AM
By: Maricyn A. De los Santos
THE COUNTRY’S first solar-powered water park opened Dec. 15, 2016 at Eon Centennial Resort Hotel and Waterpark at Alta Tierra Subdivision, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Waterworld Iloilo is powered by 1,200 solar panels that generate 0.3 megawatts (300,000 watts) of electricity which powers the water pumps used to operate the two-hectare recreational park.
Felicito Tiu, Eon Group of Companies chairman, said the multi-million peso investment is expected to boost tourist arrivals in the city.
Tiu, who also heads Iloilo City Trade and Investments Promotions Board (ICTIPB), said that in the past years, tourist arrival figures in Iloilo City are not as encouraging compared with other highly urbanized cities (HUCs) in the country and even in Western Visayas (WV).
Tiu said the city government has been doubling its efforts to attract more tourists in the region, not only to raise taxes but also to generate local employment.
“There are five main reasons why the Tiu family built the water park – to convert the former Eon Convention Center into another business; help Iloilo City increase tourist arrivals; help increase tax revenues and make sure tourists spend their money in Iloilo City; and help the city government in the branding of Iloilo City as prime tourism destination,” Tiu said.
The businessman added that it is his goal to have the city included in the annual Travel Mart held in Metro Manila.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said he is upbeat on the tourism prospects brought by the opening of the water park.
“Aside from creating jobs, it could create business opportunities for the nearby communities,” Mabilog said.
The mayor added the location is very ideal as it is near the terminals in the metro, meaning, it is very accessible to those who are from the Iloilo towns and nearby provinces.
Frances Tiu, Waterworld Iloilo general manager, is looking forward to the expansion of the water park in the future.
She assured the public that safety is the recreational park’s number one priority with the deployment of more than 50 lifeguards trained by Philippine Coast Guard and state-of-the art materials used in the park, among others.