ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Tour operator taps on unexplored sites to boost tourism
Brunei:HOPING to gain an edge over other mainstream tour operators, a local travel startup is tapping Temburong’s unexplored tourist spots to help boost the country’s tourism industry.
Hilmi Hamizan Rosli, Early Green Tour founder, said his tour packages include attractions in the villages of Kg Belais, Buda-Buda, Kg Batang Duri and Bukit Patoi Forest Recreation Park in Bangar.
In just two months of operation, the startup had conducted 10 tours that attracted over 50 clients, he said.
“I notice that travel agencies only focus on promoting the Ulu Temburong National Park for domestic and foreign tourists…There are other attractive places in Temburong which have never been exposed to locals and foreigners, and we are targeting that niche market,” said Hilmi, a resident of Kg Belais in Temburong.
He said some of the tourist activities at Kg Belais include cooking and swimming, fishing or boating at Pendahuruan River, which borders Temburong and Limbang, Sarawak.
Hilmi said the tour activities aim to educate clients about the lifestyle of the residents in Temburong and promote the natural environment around rural villages.
“During the boat ride, it is interesting to see how residents from Temburong cross the border to go to Bandar…For the fishing activity, people can catch tiger prawn (then cook them) as Kg Belais and Buda-Buda are known to be the best fishing spots in Temburong,” said Hilmi.
The 20-year-old is taking a Diploma in Travel and Tourism and will be graduating from the Institute of Brunei Technical Education’s Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College (IBTE-MTSSR) campus next month.
Hilmi said the idea to start a tour business came from his final year project at IBTE-MTSSR early this year.
He said his experiences as a freelance tour guide and volunteer for Kg Belais Village Consultative Council (MPK) in 2013 has also encouraged him to start the travel and tour business.
Hilmi said he ventured into the business “with no capital and only used the available resources in his village to make profits”.
“I believe that 80 per cent of the people from Bandar have never gone to Temburong…Most of them probably have never been on a boat ride…Those are the people that we are targeting,” he said.
Hilmi said he is currently working out tour packages for government officials and foreigners for team building activities at the villages in Temburong District.
“We are planning to get an average of 50 pax (people) a month in the future,” he said.
Manned by six persons, the startup was recently approached by two unnamed local travel agencies for a collaboration.
Hilmi said they are marketing their tour packages online through social media platforms like Instagram.
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