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Monday, June 13, 2016

Lack of visitors see Serasa Beach vendors struggle

A picture showing non-operating stalls at Serasa Beach.

Darren Chin

MANY of the 40 stalls at the Serasa Beach Complex are inactive due to the lack of visitors to the beach, despite nearly all the stalls officially having tenants.

A $3.45 million renovation project was completed in March 2014 to provide better facilities, including a permanent building complex, for vendors and visitors to the beach.

Vendors of the stalls said that restrictions brought about by the renovations have put both visitors and vendors off from frequenting Serasa Beach.

Rosmazidah Hj Damit, who has been selling clothing and accessories regularly at her stall at Serasa Beach since the stalls were opened in 2014, said that only around 10 stalls would be open for business on a normal day.

“Lately, the number of visitors to the beach has dropped a lot compared to previous years and I suspect certain restrictions have caused the place to go quiet,” she said.

“For example, if visitors wanted to bring their own barbeque equipment and use it at a place outside the prepared huts, they would be told not to do so and things like these deter people from coming. This ultimately affects us vendors,” she said.

Another vendor who operates a food stall at the beach said some of the aspects of the renovated facilities were not to the liking of local visitors.

“We have heard complaints that the (secondary) parking lot here is too far and the (primary) parking lot next to the stalls does not have enough spaces,” said Khairul Azli Hj Japar.

Khairul Azli said that in the two months before Ramadhan, there would be less than 10 stalls open, even on weekends, due to the lack of visitors.

When contacted by The Brunei Times, an official at the department of parks, recreation and environment said that their records show that currently 38 out of the 40 stalls have tenants.

The official who opted for anonimity for fear of repercussions said that the tenants are all still paying a monthly rent of $15 but do not open their stalls for business, especially during the month of Ramadhan when vendors normally rest.

Meanwhile, Khairul Azli told The Brunei Times that stalls regularly change vendors as tenants not operating their stalls daily would have their tenancy withdrawn.

“We actually have our attendance taken on normal days (before Ramadhan) by the authorities so we were told that if a stall was not operating for a certain number of days in a month, the tenancy of the stalls would be given to a new applicant,” he said.

One vendor who rented out ATVs at Serasa Beach before the renovations said he felt the beach has lost its lustre.

“Serasa Beach used to be a popular destination for locals because it had a fun factor and people could drive all the way in and there were not too many restrictions,” said Abdul Hadi Abdul Sani.

“Bruneians went to Serasa Beach because there were quite a lot of attractions and activities you could do like the ATVs which you can no longer find there,” he said.

Abdul Hadi said many of the vendors previously stationed at Serasa Beach have moved to Tungku Beach as they felt it would be tough to carry out their businesses following the completion of the renovation works.

“In my case, ATV use was banned outright at Serasa Beach which was why I moved to Tungku Beach,” he said.

“I think a lot of the people also stopped going to Serasa Beach and came to Tungku Beach because they were looking for activities and attractions such as the flying fox and ATVs,” he said.

Sumber - The Brunei Times

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