Hopes rise for hotel industry with swimming pool re-opening

Lyna Mohamad

Swimming pools under the purview of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and other institutions re-opened to the public on July 6, although limited to a 30 per cent capacity and an hour for each user over the age of 15 years.

Among those who welcomed the news were members of the Brunei Association of Hotels (BAH), particularly hotels with swimming pool facilities on their premises.

BAH President Mohd Iswandi bin Maaruf said that prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, BAH had proposed to hotel members with pools to participate in a basic aquatic safety awareness and life-saving programme.

During the training conducted by Beach Bunch, only three hotels – Mulia, Wafa and Parkview – were involved, while several other hotels were unable to take part, due to unavoidable circumstances.

“As the president, I am thankful that we decided to initiate and take part in the training, as it has enabled hoteliers to gauge the maximum capacity of swimmers in the pool area and calculate the number of pool users at a time, during the de-escalation phase,” said Mohd Iswandi.

Swimming pool facility at the Mulia Hotel. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“Our pool capacity is 32 users, so the maximum number during this phase will be around 10 swimmers at a time.”

Asked if the phased re-opening of swimming pools would help revitalise the hotel industry, Mohd Iswandi replied that Brunei hoteliers are being encouraged to focus on the local market to survive the impact of COVID-19.

“The 30 per cent capacity and age limit will be a challenge too, in grabbing the domestic market.”

General Manager of Annajat and Wafa Hotel & Apartments Ahamed Kamil Mohamed Cassim, meanwhile, said, “It will definitely give way for the domestic market, but on a small scale.

“I also hope that the authorities would consider banquet events. The increased number of guests will certainly be good news for the hotel industry.”