ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Pocket maps remain in demand among tourists and expats
BOOKSTORE owners are seeking cartographers that can design pocket maps for tourists.
While online sites and applications have helped tourists navigate Brunei, bookstore managers and staff said tourists still prefer to buy paper maps that they can carry with them while travelling around the sultanate.
“Tourists have been asking for maps of Brunei every time they visit our store at the Brunei International Airport,” said Tajudeen Odubitan, co-founder of Nollybook.
As they can’t find maps for sale, Tajudeen said tourists opt to buy outdated guidebooks instead such as Welcome To Brunei Darussalam (The Complete Traveller’s Guide) published in 2000 and Brunei Darussalam Street Directory published in 2014.
He added Nollybook will sometimes give free copies of the Borneo Insider’s Guide magazine to help tourists who want to know more about the sultanate.
Tajudeen said Nollybook is keen to collaborate with local cartographers as there’s a demand for maps.
Apart from locating Brunei’s attractions, he said tourists need these maps to find hotels.
A staff at Best Eastern Book Store said the bookstore chain is keen to distribute maps as they’re popular among tourists.
She said tourists, especially those who want to visit Brunei again, prefer to buy paper maps for future reference.
“Expats also want to buy the latest (edition of Brunei) maps so that they would know which villages or districts they want to stay in the future,” she said.
Mohd Omar Ali Hj Saburdeen, manager of Pustaka Remaja’s branch at Kuala Belait, said cartographers can help raise bookstore sales as there’s a growing demand for maps.
“We can order from them (cartographers) and sell the maps for them. I would say 99 per cent of the tourists who visited our store in KB would ask for a map of Brunei,” he said.
He said tourists from Miri and cruise ship passengers often ask for the latest maps of Brunei because they are keen to trek Borneo’s rainforests.
“These backpackers and adventurers often inquire for (foldable) tourist maps which are small enough to fit in their pockets yet offer extensive details about the places in Brunei,” he said.
Mohd Omar Ali said applications like Google Maps and Waze aren’t reliable for tourists because of the slow internet connection in some rural areas.
“There is no internet when you drive along the Telisai-Lumut highway,” he said.
A salesperson at Bismi Trading Sdn Bhd said there is a market for paper maps because there are tourists who travel around ASEAN and they sometimes can’t find the information they need online.
"What they want to know is the direction from one village to another (or how to get) from (the rainforest) to the city,” he said.
A representative from Samima Sdn Bhd at Kg Rimba said Google Maps does not provide the latest information on Brunei.
He said locals should ask the authorities about the process of making maps in Brunei as there is a potential market for it.
“I don’t know (what is the process involved in making) maps in Brunei. I think you need to get permission from relevant authorities. But if there is a company or a group of cartographers who can make one, we would be happy to work with them,” he said.
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