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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     September 5,  2016  

Partnerships will develop local tourism industry

Brunei:PARTNERSHIP between agencies both in the public and private sector is essential in developing the local tourism industry.

In a sharing session with representatives from several agencies including the Darussalam Enterprise, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism and tour operators, Anthony Chieng, managing director of Sunshine Borneo Tours Sdn Bhd, said the reluctantce to work with other companies has slowed the growth of Brunei’s tourism.

“I feel the only way to succeed is to be open to partner with other companies and agencies. There’s still a fear of collaboration because people don’t want to lose business,” he said.

Reflecting on his experiences in the International Visitor Leadership Program where he studied strategies and incentives used to promote tourism in the US, Chieng said partnership is one of the major factors that sustained the US tourism industry.

He said tour agents, transport providers and other agencies need to work together to attract more tourists to Brunei.

“We have a lot of tourist attractions here but there are gaps such as transport and accessible information that can be improved through collaboration between businesses,” he said.

He said marketing is also a huge part of the US tourism industry and this is something that Brunei should work on.

Although most tour companies have accounts in social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, Chieng said it is still difficult for tourists to find information on local homestays and tour packages on Google.

He said this has a huge impact on tourism as people rely on Google to search for interesting places. If Brunei’s attractions and services don’t pop up in the search engine, Chieng said it will be very difficult to get tourists to come and visit.

“Businesses like homestays and even restaurants can partner up with popular tourism websites such as Trip Advisor so that their business is advertised on the site and this can help a lot,” he said.

During the International Visitor Leadership Program that he attended, he took a closer look at examples of sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible tourism and this is why he decided to start his mission to make the country free of disposable plastic bottles.

“We can be known as the country with no plastic bottles and apart from the natural attractions that we have, this can be something that will bring in visitors,” he said.

Chieng is now working with other tour operators to give visitors more options in terms of tour packages.

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