ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Tour operators urged to be more efficient in marketing Brunei
LOCAL inbound-tour operators must be creative and efficient in designing travel packages for tourists especially when faced with the challenge of selling hotels that are located far from the city centre, said an industry player yesterday.
There are a number of hotels in Brunei that are located outside the city centre including Parkview Hotel, StarLodge Brunei and the luxurious five-star The Empire Hotel and Country Club.
And while the latter could easily sell itself as a resort property, the other two have particularly suffered from low occupancy in the past.
Tourists would naturally opt to stay in the city or commercial centres to maximise their holiday with easier access to shopping and dining, among others, Freme Travel Sdn Bhd Inbound Manager, Sugumaran Nair, told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the official opening of Parkview Hotel.
“Being located some 20 minutes away from the city is obviously going to give you a challenge in terms of selling the hotel,” said Nair, referring to the location of Parkview Hotel, where Freme has recently set up a new sales desk.
He said inbound-tour operators and travel agents must not see location as a hindrance when trying to sell Brunei as a tourism destination.
“We cannot just sit there and complain about location being an obstacle when trying to sell a particular hotel, because then ultimately you will face difficulty to sell the country to tourists,” he said.
“Operators and agents must be creative when it comes to packages. They have to slot in and maximise travel itineraries and give good propositions to tourists. Maybe package it with Temburong (for nature tourism) and good food, then top it off with luxury by giving them some free time at the Empire, for example.”
Inbound operators should also make use of the food and beverage outlets that are available in hotels around Brunei, he added.
“Food will always play an important part in tourism.”
Nair added, “Food attracts visitors, so you have to make sure they taste as much local food as possible while being able to also offer international cuisines at hotels around Brunei.”
He suggested that there should be different programmes for different market sectors.
The Freme Travel Inbound manager said tour operators and travel agents must also capitalise on Brunei’s strength as a tourism destination and promote the country’s green destinations including in Temburong, Tutong and Belait districts.
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