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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     August 22,  2016  

Tourism sector contributes to country’s growth

THE tourism industry is one of the main sectors that can sustain the sultanate’s growth, a senior official said.

“The strategic direction of our tourism industry in Brunei is towards the sustainable growth of tourist arrivals that will contribute significantly to the growth of economic activities related to tourism capitalising on the primary and emerging tourism products and services as well as other tourism activities,” said Dr Hj Abdul Manaf Hj Metussin, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism.

In a speech delivered at the opening of ASEAN Community-Based Tourism Programme at Kg Sg Bunga, Dr Hj Abdul Manaf said the tourism industry in Brunei is steadily increasing with a compound annual growth rate of six to seven per cent since 2012.

He encouraged local tour and travel companies to get into public-private partnerships to develop products that can attract more tourists to Brunei.

He cited some of Brunei’s key attractions such as Temburong’s tropical rainforests, Kampong Ayer and parks.

Dr Hj Abdul Manaf said the ASEAN Community-based Tourism Programme, which was organised by the ASEAN-Korea Centre, will “encourage better people to people interaction between the participants and the host community”.

By allowing participants to experience one another’s culture and way of life, he said the programme will “promote better understanding and respect not only between cultures but also towards the preservation of indigenous way of life and the environment”.

“Undoubtedly, this exercise can promote Brunei Darussalam as a tourist destination centre and hopefully encourage more tourists from Korea and ASEAN to come to Brunei Darussalam,” he said.

ASEAN-Korean Centre Secretary General Kim Young-sun said Brunei has several sites that has the potential to attract more tourists.

He said Temburong’s rainforest can attract Korean tourists as “adventure tourism is the latest trend in South Korea”.

Young-sun said the upcoming Temburong bridge, which will connect Temburong with the Brunei-Muara district, will reduce travelling time and attract more tourists to Temburong.

“It would be easier for people to get to Temburong district to enjoy the beautiful nature of Brunei,” he said.

Lee Su-Ji, information and data unit programme officer at the ASEAN-Korea Centre, said Brunei has a lot to offer, especially the pristine rainforests, which cannot be found in other parts of the world.

“I’m from Seoul and I live in a city. This thick rainforest is very rare for me. I really love it. It’s my first time seeing this. I can’t explain why. But I really love the forest and the trees. It’s quiet here and not as noisy as the city,” she said.

Korean Ambassador Cho Won-Myung said communities in Temburong should consider building more high class accommodations that can attract wealthy tourists who are willing to pay a premium for upscale products and services.

Md Athaillah Zaini, the owner of a homestay at Kg Sg Bunga, said more families are keen on the homestay programme as it brings in good business. “We don’t only (rent) rooms to tourists but we also profit from offering tourist activities like fishing, cooking and even rowing boats,” he said.

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