Call for making Kuala Balai eco-tourism destination

, National 1 minute, 48 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE construction of a jetty to facilitate river cruises and the involvement of the local body of travel agents are needed in the revitalisation and development of Belait District's previous administrative capital into an eco-tourism destination in Brunei, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources said yesterday.

Speaking during the morning half of the second day of the sixth State Legislative Council (LegCo) session, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that the ministry was of the opinion that if developed as an eco-tourism attraction, Kuala Balai would be able to draw back residents from nearby villages.

"This is the main factor towards the success and continuity of Kuala Balai as an eco-tourism destination," he said.

"In realising Kuala Balai as an eco-tourism destination, the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is proposing that an increase in infrastructure and services is needed," he said.

"This includes the rebuilding and improvement of the Belait culture house, the construction of a jetty for river cruises and the involvement of the private sector (Association of Travel Agents of Brunei Darussalam or Attab)".

He spoke on Kuala Balai's rich heritage, potential for water sports activities and diverse population of bird species; all of which could be promoted for tourism purposes.

Belait District representative YB Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad asked why nothing had been done over the year since the last LegCo session and what had happened to the $12 million allocated for the Kuala Balai heritage eco-tourism project, which was the main project to revive the area.

The minister clarified that funds had yet to be allocated for the project and assured that the project had not been halted.

"This project is still being studied and discussions among the Belait District Office, Tourism Development Department, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Kuala Balai Village Consultative Councils as well as a number of agencies from the private sector are involved in this project," he said.

Kuala Balai, located further up the Belait River, was previously the old historic administrative capital of the Belait District.

The Brunei Times