THE long wait is over.
Cebuano pawnshop tycoon Michel Lhuillier on Thursday announced he is set to open the 100-hectare safari in Carmen in the last quarter of this year.
Lhuillier disclosed the safari’s opening schedule to correct reports circulating online that it is due to open this summer.
“I never said (we will open by) April. I’d like to correct that. We are aiming to open by October or November this year. Please be patient, as we are doing our best to make this attraction the best,” he said.
Lhuillier, who holds several other businesses in Cebu, said the safari is one of his biggest investments. It will feature entertainment, animal interactions, shows, eight adventure rides, and an accommodation facility, among others.
“I tell you this will be a different world. You will really be entertained,” he said.
Seventy percent of the animals will arrive in Cebu this month; these were bought by Lhuillier from Texas, (south of) France, and Dubai. The safari will also house 60 species of birds and feature the family’s collection of orchids and other flower varieties.
“You will get to interact with the animals. We will have shows where you can feed them,” said Lhuillier, adding that they hired four trainers from Singapore to train some of the animals.
Entrance to the safari is pegged at around P550.
While it is not yet open, Lhuillier’s safari in Carmen has long been dubbed as the next tourism star in the province, according to Patria Aurora “Dawnie” Roa, Cebu Province’s tourism consultant.
“It is a grand tourism product. It is already a destination by itself,” she said.
She added that the Carmen safari will boost the province’s position as an eco-tourism destination, especially since activities offered to the public will promote “communion with nature.”
Aside from completing the safari’s amenities, Lhuillier has also started setting up the transportation that would bring guests from Cebu City to the safari.
Carmen is a third-class municipality composed of 21 barangays with a population of 51,325 as of 2015.
Lhuillier said the opening of the safari will not only boost tourism in Cebu but will also generate jobs in the northern town.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 11, 2017.
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