The Tourism Development Department’s vision is to realise sustainable growth and increase the number of tourists that would contribute significantly to the growth of tourism-related economic activities.
The Tourism Development Department has identified a number of potential tourism products through key initiatives to develop and contribute to the growth and diversification of the country’s economy.
These include the strengthening of tour packages to Temburong, in particular Pekan Bangar, Batang Duri and Ulu Temburong National Park. The district is a prime eco-tourism destination and offers visitors the chance to experience the unique culture of the Temburong community.
Next up is Kampong Ayer, where there will be a water taxi tour of the water village – including visits to the Kampong Ayer Culture and Tourism Gallery and Jong Batu, viewing of probos- cis monkeys and other wildlife, as well as an excursion through Bandar Seri Begawan – which will include visits to well-known landmarks and tourist attractions such as the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Jame‘ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, Maritime Museum, Royal Regalia Museum, Lapau Building, Istana Nurul Iman (Royal Palace), Kianggeh Market, Gadong night market, Jerudong Park Playground and others.
There are also a number of emerging products, which include beaches such as Serasa Beach, Muara Beach, Berakas Beach, Seri Kenangan Beach, Meragang Beach and Tungku Beach. Forestry reserves and recreational parks also fall under this cat- egory, namely Sungai Basong Recreation Park in Tutong District, Berakas Forest Reserve Recreation Park and Shahbandar Hill Recreation Park in Brunei-Muara District. Other potential loca- tions include Tasek Merimbun in Tutong District and Bukit Teraja in Belait District.
The target is to increase the number of visitors to Brunei Darussalam from 219,000 in 2016 to 450,000 tourists by 2020, and increase tourism revenue from BND69.8 million to BND335 million by 2020.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on October 26, 2016 enacted the Tourism Order 2016, which includes the establishment of the Brunei Darussalam Tourism Board (BTB), the licensing of travel agents and tour guides, and the registration of tourist accommodation establishments.
The Board is a platform for the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) and its stakeholders to engage in dialogue in tourism development in the country, coordinate government and non-government sector activities to promote Brunei as a tourism destination, address proposals in terms of best prac- tices, measures and programmes to be used in facilitating and promoting the growth of the tourism industry and to identify resources which can be used in developing and promoting tourism.
BTB has cooperated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) to pro- vide visa facilities such as Visa-on-Arrival and multiple entry visas for passport holders from the People’s Republic of China.
The board is also working closely with travel agents to attract visitors from countries such as China and Korea to contribute to increasing overall tourist arrivals.
The conducting of domestic and international promotional and marketing activities will be done through travel agents, hotels and airlines to promote Brunei as a prime tourist destination.
More active tourism products are also being pushed by the BTB such as bird watching, Islamic tourism, medical tourism, diving, cruise tourism, sports tour- ism such as mountain biking, education tourism (i.e. JIS/ISB and UBD summer schools), adventure, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions/ Events), homestay, culture and community-based tourism.
A number of key initiatives and action plans have been identified to strengthen and diversify tourism products in this country.
One of the many priorities is to strengthen exist- ing tour packages offered in Brunei across all four districts, such as as the ‘Temburong Holiday Destination three days, two nights’ package launched on September 1, 2017; ‘Kampong Ayer Tourism Package’ and ‘Bandar Seri Begawan National Heritage’; and the ‘Heritage Trail in Bandar Seri Begawan’ launched by the MoHA and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).
The ‘Tutong Tour Package’ and ‘Belait Tour Package’ have also received plenty of attention where promo- tional activities are concerned.
In efforts to encourage tourist traffic into Brunei, BTB introduced the ‘Brunei December Festival’, the nation’s first month-long festival full of recrea- tional activities held across the four districts. With over 30 events and programmes listed, the festival included existing programmes such as ‘Bandarku Ceria’, ‘Brunei Salebration’ and various activities at the Jerudong Park Playground. The festival also introduced a number of new events, such as ‘Brunei Water Festival’, ‘Alpha Obstacle Challenge’ and ‘Brunei Film Blitz 2017’. The variety of events aimed to cater to a huge percentage of not just foreign but also local tourists.
Brunei December Festival 2017 was a massive suc- cess, with some well-received events continuing on into January 2018 in response to encouraging public turnout.
Other initiatives which have been implemented suc- cessfully are ‘Bird Watching In Brunei Darussalam Booklet’; ‘Brunei Gastronomy Week’; and ‘Brunei Diving Packages’.
The Tourism Development Department is looking to get the community involved in the investment, man- agement and maintenance of certain attractions and amenities through public-private partnership.
The areas in question include public amenities in Pekan Bangar and Batang Duri in Temburong, Basong River Recreation Park and Seri Kenangan Beach in Tutong, and Kampong Ayer Culture and Tourism Village and Kampong Lurong Sikuna in Kampong Ayer.
The provision of several jetties for river cruise and floating restaurant at Residency Road, Bandar Seri Begawan and Sibonghutan Ecotourism Site in Tanah Jambu, Mentiri, Brunei-Muara also fall under this agreement.
It is hoped that these initiatives and implemented action plans will help increase the quality of tourist facilities and improve infrastructure standards.
Working towards improving the competence of human resources and investing in capacity building for tourism, MPRT has partnered with Laksamana College of Business (LCB) to conduct the Tourist Guide Bridging Course and Basic Tourist Guide Course to improve travel agencies’ knowledge and quality of services provided.
Following the success of MPRT’s initiatives such as the Brunei December Festival, MPRT saw a 10 per cent increase in tourist traffic for Brunei in 2017 in comparison to the previous year. The Brunei International Airport also saw a 25.7 per cent year- on-year growth in international tourist arrival for 2017.
For 2018, MPRT seeks to continue to develop tour- ism in Brunei in the face of growing competition to attract tourists and the changing trends in tourism.
Speaking at the International Tourism Conference and Exhibition (ITCE) 2018 held in January, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong empha- sised promoting sustainable tourism initiatives. These initiatives seek to encourage tourist inflow in Brunei while still preserving the pristine state of the country’s rich and diverse landscape.
The minister highlighted the importance of sustain- ability in promoting tourism growth as it encourages relevant capacity building to promote ecotourism. The country has potential to expand its ecotourism initiatives and products due to its location and abun- dant natural resources.
Following the encouraging results for tourism in Brunei in 2017, MPRT aims to further increase tour- ist traffic in 2018 by developing primary, emerging and activity-based tourism products.
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