‘Brunei beaches can be boon for tourism’
BRUNEI has the potential to tap into environmental tourism, with its many beautiful beaches which could be developed further.
This would also be good to generate income, by employing more people to keep beaches tidy and clean, said a Resort Service manager from the United Kingdom.
Derek Singleton, from Torbay council, UK, was in the country recently to speak at the Beach Bunch roundtable held in the capital.
In an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times, he explained how environmental tourism can be important.
“People would want to come to a country that is clean, well managed, good standard of living and close to virgin rainforest, which I think is important. Nevertheless, I am really impressed with the beaches in the country and for the country to develop those beaches, they need to implement a system of beach management,” he said.
He said that to do that is to provide a focus and a process that can be followed and already implemented in other parts of the world.
“So it’s not having to invent something which doesn’t exist. It’s a matter of adapting what is already there to suit the condition in Brunei,” he said.
The Sultanate is missing on the business aspect that could provide better maintained beaches for tourists as well as the community.
“If there will be development of infrastructure of beach management, it has to be paid for and money has to come from somewhere for that to happen. It has to come from people who are using that service.
“For example, people should pay a small amount of money for the car park; the people who are making businesses on the beach have to pay a bit of money into the same pot. That money would then be use to employ someone to clean the beaches. So, it’s utilising the businesses to provide the services that exist on the beach,” he said.
These businesses could include boat rental services, cafes, beach huts, and restaurants, he said.
When asked if that implementation would somehow create a fall back because parking, for example, has always been provided free in public beaches.
“Not really. If the beaches they go to are clean and maintained, people would pay for the car park. You charge them half a dollar for something that is convenient which is also cheap, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. And the huge amount of people using the car park would perhaps pay enough for one person to clean the beach. So, everybody pays a very small amount and what is achieved is quite substantial,” he said.
He said that people would resent it at first, just like any other new implementation was carried out. But once people get comfortable with it, it could be part of what is being normal.
With a level of consensus, people would see the advantage of doing that, he added.
Torbay is a national leader in beach awards and has gained the most awards in Great Britain on a number of occasions.
When asked how he managed his beaches, Singleton said providing what visitors expect to find on the beach.
“Visitors would expect clean and safe beaches, so I provide and manage those services. There are clean toilets, restaurants, fresh drinking water, beach furniture as well as first aid. Someone would be assigned to provide an element of control so that everyone is safe,” he said.
“I’m impressed and envious of the community engagement that the Beach Bunch managed to achieve. It’s not something that we could manage in the UK, in the numbers that he is achieving,” he said.
Commenting on the beaches in Brunei, his personal favorite is the Seri Kenangan beach in Tutong.
“I like the natural aspect to it, big and empty. And it’s not dirty, there’s a little bit of debris on the sand line but that’s normal,” he said.
However, he found that the areas in Jerudong Beach are dirty which is a shame because it’s a working area where fishing was carried out.
“To a certain extent, you expect a place to be dirty, but that was a little excessive. But that’s part of the culture. It’s not a tourist area but it would be nice to see it cleaner though.
The Brunei Times