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The problems faced in Pulau ubin are those avoidable ones since it started to now. It is a fantastic place to be a relaxing as you look into the activities available in the island. If the visitor management is serious about improving the already wonderful place, it can be a well known visiting area especially to aliens. Restrictions and rules should be there to avoid damage of environment. Tourist should themselves understand when restrictions are imposed.
Pulau Ubin is one of the tourist destinations in Singapore. The island receives quite a number of tourists. Therefore, there are a number of visitor management issues that affect the destination. The visitor management issues may be eliminated by the use of the visitor management tools. Although the island is undergoing the visitor management issues there are ways to prevent those issues from rising again.
Pulau Ubin is a small off-shore island situated in the North East of Singapore. It is size is about 10.19 km². It can be regarded as one of the historic sites in Singapore, because the Granite quarrying took place in the 1960s. The granite Quarries became lakes after water filled them because mining of granite had Stopped. The Island has villages that about a hundred villagers live there today. It is a rural area found in Singapore with a lot of natural flora, fauna and lakes. Pulau Ubin is one of the amazing sites to visit in Singapore. It has been preserved to maintain the village look and to conserve the natural environment. Pulau Ubin has wooden house villages compared to the urban areas that have the concrete building. It is a place with a preserved and conserved wildlife; beautiful sceneries like the abandoned quarries and vegetation. The people of Pulau Ubin depend on water from the wells. Some people engage in fishing and farming for subsistence, while others own stores like kiosks to hire out bikes. Pulau Ubin is an amazing place to be for a tourist looking to experience the rural life. (Francesch, 2008)
Pulau Ubin is one of the most interesting tourist destinations in Singapore. Visitors can visit the area for days or just a day. Thus, camping and picnics are some of the activities in the destination. Camping sites are available for those who want to stay overnight, but they must bring their own tents. (Savage and Yeoh, 2003) The tourists can engage in various activities like camping, barbequing, mountain biking, trekking, fishing, bird watching and sight seeing. The hills on the islands are challenging for cycling and those interested in mountain biking can enjoy in this area. There are beautiful sceneries like the vegetation and the lakes. Tourists can rent a bike and then use it to move around the village. Chek Jawa is the natural wetlands where visitors can go while in the village. It has biodiversity that includes the rocky shore coastal hill forest, mangroves forests, sandy beaches, sea grass lagoon and coral reefs. Tourists can watch the marine life like the crabs, turtle, starfishes, jellyfishes, octopus and other wildlife like the wild boar. (Gunn, 2002) The visitors can learn about the history of Singapore by visiting Pulau Ubin. Visitors can go to different temples, which are the historical part of the island. In addition, the abandoned granite quarries since the 1960’s are also evidence of activities carried out in the past.
Pulau Ubin has various types of accommodation. A tourist makes the choice that suits the way he or she plans to spend. There are various camping sites where the tourists can pitch tents. The camping sites may include the white sandy beaches. ((Mathieson, 1982) Mostly in cases of camping, when camping in the free camping sites, the tourist comes with his own tents and gears. There are camping rules to be followed like tourists are not allowed to light campfires and they should not use the tree branches to pitch their tents. The tourists should report to the local ranger where they will be camping for the security reasons. Another type of accommodation is the resorts that are well furnished and very comfortable for the tourists. The tourists can book the room that suits their needs. There are standard rooms with one bedroom; bathroom with hot & cold water shower; mini refrigerator, remote controlled television & electrical kettle. There are also duplex rooms with two bedrooms where in each bedroom there are either 2 single beds or a queen sized bed. Bathrooms with hot & cold water shower are attached in each bedroom. The room also has a living room that has mini refrigerator, remote controlled television and electrical kettle. (Zanko, 2003) The tourist can also enjoy the cheap seafood delicacies like fish and crabs.
There are restaurants in the island that offer seafood to tourists. The tourist can enjoy the fresh coconut juices that are sold by the local people. All the needs of the tourists can be satisfied at the island.
VISITOR MANAGEMENT ISSUE IN PULAU UBIN
The Pulau Ubin physical Carrying capacity had gone beyond what the destination can handle. The environment is under threat due to the tourist number. The numbers of tourists visiting the destination have exceeded the number that the destination can handle. This is visitor management issue that the island management has to deal with. The question arising here is, “Why does the management team do something about this?” For example, improving the island facilities. Land may not be available, so there is a need for facilities improvement. This may actually help to control the population of tourist visiting Pulau Ubin. The visitor management has for many years not consulted the government of Singapore about this. The other issue is loss of biodiversity due to tourists’ activities. The tourist activities like using of tree branches to pitch tents have increased loss of biodiversity in the island. Why should this be allowed? The visitor management should actually impose fines to such environmental unfriendly acts. It tarnishes the beauty of the island. The fear the management may have here is maybe it might lead to tourist viewing it as an unfriendly act causing less visitors. This has resulted because the island has continued to receive large numbers of tourists in the destination. But, why allow this and in a few years the known tourist attraction island may end up not being attractive? What the management should do then is to over already fine chopped woods to pitch the tents. Tourism is a way of earning revenue to the government. Therefore the management of visitors should try and protect the environment because the environment here is one of the most attractive assets for tourists. Transport to the island is also another issue. Visitors may travel to Pulau Ubin from the main island of Singapore via a 10-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Village. In 2008 the one way ticket price was increased from $1.50 to $2.50 per passenger. Bumboat can carry 12 passengers and the captain will wait till his boat has reached the maximum capacity. People who do not want to wait can pay $35.00 for the bumboat and leave without waiting. And how long does the boat take to be full of passengers? Maybe an hour or half an hour this is not faring to impatient tourists. So they have to pay for the whole boat and they occupy only half of the full capacity. This should be dealt with by maybe introducing travel boats for lesser people. Below are strategies and techniques:
STRATEGY MSNSGEMENT TECHNIQUES
1.Reduse of the entire protected area
-Limit number of visitors to the area
-Limit length of stay
-Encourage use of other areas
-Require certain skills and equipments
-Charge a flat visitor fee
-Make access more difficult in all wilderness
2.Reduse use of problem areas-Inform about problem areas
-Prohibit use of such areas
3.Modify type of use and visitor behavior
-Discourage damage practices
-Teach wilderness ethic
-Prohibit overnight use
VISITOR MANAGEMENT IN PULAU UBIN
Visitor management deals with controlling and regulating the way of the number of visitors also regulating their behaviors in the attraction site. This may include activities like keeping the record of visitors to the destination, their names, reason for visiting and how long they will stay at the destination. Visitor management may also involve making sure that the number of the tourists do not exceed the total number that a destination can sustain. There is a need to employ the visitor management strategies to preserve and conserve the natural resources and wildlife in the area. A visitor management system by NParks is functioning with the help of volunteer guides to ensure the protection and conservation of the area. The guides ensure that the tourists understand the rules and regulations of the destination. (Plummer, 2009) The guides take the tourists around the island and they can monitor the activities of the tourists. The guides can show the tourists the trails used to avoid interfering with nature. NPark, Nature Society Singapore and Singapore Environment Council have played a big role in ensuring the biodiversity at Chek Jawa is not lost.
VISITOR IMPACT MANAGEMENT
This tool covers a range of techniques and ways for managing visitor’s numbers, their activities while at the destination and their impacts on the environments in the specific areas. This tool can be employed in the national parks, game reserves and all tourists’ destinations to control the impact of tourists in the area. It is a very effective tool to protect and prevent the loss of biodiversity. Carrying capacity of a destination should be considered when planning on the number of visitors that should be allowed in a destination. The visitor impact management tool can also involve the reducing the number of days in a week that the parks are open for visits. This minimizes the number of times that the tourists are in the natural areas thus minimizing the impact of tourists on the environment. There is no entry fee to Pulau Ubin and chances of the visitor numbers may exceed that that the destination can handle. Tourists growing interest in ecotourism has led to large numbers visiting the Pulau Ubin. The island has to come up with measures to minimize the impact of the tourists on the natural environment. Several measures have been put in Pulau Ubin to minimize the impact of tourists in the area. (Pigram and Jenkins, 2006) To protect the fragile and natural habitats, NParks and other volunteers came up with an idea to set up a wooden path way to manage visits. This would help to minimize visitor’s impact on the environment. Trampling on the intertidal wetlands would inflict damage to the ecosystem of that nature site. The visitor centre has a viewing jetty and a boardwalk that is about one kilometer in length. There is also a 20 meters viewing tower called the Jejawi Tower. The visitor’s impact on nature may include stepping on vegetation and small organisms. Small organisms like earthworms and ants are part of the ecosystem and should not be harmed. The Jejawi tower and the wooden viewing jetty have helped to protect the biodiversity in chek jawa. The visitors view the natural environment without harming the environment by stepping on the vegetation and organisms which lead to the loss of biodiversity.
VISITOR ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT PROCESS
This tool mainly helps in managing visitors through their activities. The visitors may engage into activities that lead to the loss of biodiversity. A visitor may step on vegetation and other small organisms like snails, earth worms. This can be either willingly or accidentally. The visitors may also scare away animals leading to change of the wild animals’ behavior. (Clayton, 2008) Recreation carrying capacity is the level of activities tourists can engage in while trying to sustain the natural areas. The visitor’s activities that tourists can engage when in Pulau Ubin are environmentally friendly. This ensures that the visitor’s impact on the destination is minimized. Visitors can lead to the loss of biodiversity through a number of ways like hunting and killing animals. The activities like sightseeing, bird watching, trekking and taking long walks may have little or no negative impact on the environment. This ensures that the visitor negative impact on the environments is minimized by offering only environmentally friendly recreational activities. (Kiam, 2000) Pulau Ubin management has some rules that should be followed by the tourists in the destination. Some of the rules and regulations include: They should not cut tree branches
They should use provided trails while trekking and cycling
The tourists who camp should not have campfires and they should not attach their tents to trees’ branches
The tourists should not litter around
These rules are set help in the regulation of tourist behaviors in the area to reduce tourist negative impact on the environment.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT ACTION
To reduce the negative impacts of tourists in the natural sites in Pulau Ubin the following approaches may be applied:
Limits of Acceptable Change are a visitor management planning framework which sets the limits that the management should allow visitors to impact the environment. The higher number of tourists in a destination, the higher negative impacts on the environment and natural areas are. This visitor management tool should be used to determine the extent to which the tourist impact on the environment should be allowed to reach. (Shaw and Williams, 1997) If it exceeds the appropriate measures should be put in place to reduce the impact. The management should put in place penalties to punish anyone who does not comply with the rules and regulations of the destination. For example, any tourist caught trampling on the biodiversity instead of using the wooden jetting broad walk should be fine a certain amount of money. This would discourage anyone who intentionally fails to use the trails. Developing and increasing the facilities in the area to ensure the destination can be used by many tourists. They may increase view points and widen the pathways to accommodate more tourists who may be trekking or cycling. Developing facilities makes it possible for the destination to handle more visitors. The visiting hours can be reduced. For example, open from 9 am to 5pm. The visiting days can also be reduced to like 5 days in a week. This will help reduce the effect of tourists in the destination. Regulate the number of visitors in the destination. Limit the number of people who visit in a day. High number may increase the effect of people on the environment. The management may set the number of people that are allowed to a natural area at a time. (Mexa and Coccossis, 2004)
Pulau ubin is an island that receives a large number of visitors especially tourists interested in recreational activities like mountain biking, cycling, fishing crabs, camping among others. It is a site that has natural environments that reoccupied the quarries that were abandoned in the 1960s. There has been an increasing number of visitors visiting the island. To reduce the impact of tourists in the island has been the visitor management issue. The management should try to keep the destination natural without harming it.
They have to work hand in hand with the government of Singapore to maintain or even improve the facilities on the island. This thus attracts more and more tourist which acts in favor to them also to the government. Issue s discussed earlier are major and if not taken into consideration it may lead to the destruction of the beauty of nature which is the primary tourist attraction. Also leads to inescapable uncomfortable place for tourists.