Monday, August 18, 2008

Choosing a good location for your own scuba diving resort

Picture: Nusrowi, a potential and unexploited diving site in Wondama Bay regency of West Papua
by Charles Roring
There are some scuba divers who plan or dream to retire by running their own diving resort. These divers have visited several diving resorts and are interested in huge income the owners received although they might not know anything about diving and its technical matters. It seems that they are rich and enjoy a relaxing life. They have created their own Edenic Park somewhere in remote islands where celebrities and wealthy businessmen spend their holiday or retreat there.
But before you begin implementing your dream, you need to think like a businessman who plans to start a business. I mean running a diving resort is similar to running a business. So, your diving expertise, although essential, is not the only thing that you must have. Choosing a good location.
  • The first thing that an investor should think when considering of building a diving resort is location. Where you will build it. The resort has to be in the location where there are dive sites. Places like Caribbean islands, Phuket Thailand, Palau Islands in the Pacific, Sipadan Malaysia, Great Barrier Reef Australia, Bunaken National Park of North Sulawesi, or Sinai Egypt have been full with diving resorts. I don't say that they have been saturated for new business but the price of land in these sites are expensive. There are still beautiful diving sites around there world that haven't been exploited to their full potential. Bentenan in North Sulawesi, Banda Marine Park in Moluccan islands, Cendrawasih Bay National Park of Teluk Wondama regency in West Papua, just to name a few, are potential world class dive sites that need investors. Many island countries in the Pacific ocean have beautiful coral reefs. The price of land in these areas tend to be cheaper.
  • Unfortunately, many of them are lack of infrastructure that a diving resort needs to support its operation. Diving sites may locate in remote areas where roads are unpaved, and even no airport. It means you need to provide an offroad car, boat or even an amphibious airplane.
  • Besides infrastructure related issues, another problem is human resource. The nearby villages where your resort will be constructed do have people which you can hire in the construction works. But in most cases, they don't speak English. Many even do not know what a toaster is. Governments will welcome investors who intend to build resorts in their countries with expectation that they will be able to generate tax from the business that you run. In addition the local villagers hope that by selling their land for your "dream resort," they will be able to become workers in your resort. It is possible to recruit local villagers to work in your resort, but you need patient and perserverance when training them to be professional workers in your hospitality industry.
  • Different places mean different customs and cultures. If you plan to build the resort in the Pacific ocean, you will have to face Pacific cultures which are full of supertitious, magic, and tribal religions. You don't need to observe or believe but you must show your respect. You might need to adapt the resort design so that it will look close to nature and physical appearance of local houses. It is better to construct your resort using local materials because it will be cheaper.
  • Sometimes territorial conflicts between villages will put you in trouble.
There are many more considerations which you must think or prepare before deciding on buidling your dive resort in certain place. The above points are only simple guidance or overview. Don't get discourage when you finish reading them as different dive sites have their own considerations.  
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