ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Tour operators to benefit from new tour guide policy
ONLY tour guides authorised by the government can be hired by tourists under a new policy implemented recently.
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong told The Brunei Times yesterday that the Licensing of Tour Guides under the Tourism Order 2016 will require tourists to hire tour guides that are authorised by the ministry should they request such services during their stay in the sultanate.
In an interview, the minister said that this would help prevent foreign companies with unlicenced tour guides from offering their services to tourists visiting the country.
Under the new policy, all tour guides must be trained by the Laksamana College of Business, which is the only authorised institution to conduct training on the tour guide profession.
He said the Bridging Tourist Guides course at Laksamana will ensure that the licenced tour guides are well trained and highly qualified.
“Tourists will have to hire tour guides trained by us,” said the minister.
He added that this would also help spur job opportunities for Bruneians as it can create demand for local tour guides in the tourism sector.
Currently there are 91 licenced tour guides from 18 local travel agencies trained by Laksamana.
These tour guides will carry badges provided by the ministry as proof of their certification, said an officer from the ministry yesterday.
According to the Oxford Business Group’s The Report 2013 on Brunei, foreign companies running coach tours from neighbouring Malaysian states use unliscenced tour guides, drawing customers away from their Bruneian competitors.
Participants of the Bridging Tourist Guides Course yesterday said that the new ruling is hoped to improve the tourism sector by creating a strong demand for tour guides as well as putting an end to unlicenced operators.
Adam Tan, managing director of tour operator Travelhub said the new ruling would save his company from losing clients to unlicenced vendors.
Erick Anak Jamat, a tour guide from Freme Travel Services, said hiring licenced tour guides, be it freelancers or through an authorised travel agent, will ensure tourists get the most accurate information on Brunei and its attractions.
Dk Kemariah Pg Hj Duraman, the owner of Kunyit 7 lodge in Kampong Ayer, said that the course will ensure tour guides are highly knowledgeable on Brunei’s sites, culture and history.
“There have been a number of tourists who told me that their tour guides didn’t know the history of the Royal Regalia,” she said in an interview.
Dk Kemariah, who is also a participant of the Bridging Tourist Guides Courses, said with licenced tour guides, tourists will be disseminated proper and correct information on the culture and heritage of Brunei.
The Tourism Order 2016 took effect on October 26 with the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
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