Brunei sports tourism yet to gain traction
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
SPORTS tourism in the Sultanate has yet to gain traction despite a number of planned events aimed at attracting cross-border visitors.
Brunei Tourism said although the sector has potential, more money must be sunk into marketing and sponsorship before a significant increase in tourist arrivals can be seen.
“With tournaments such as HBT (Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy) and the Standard Chartered marathon, we do see a growing number of people coming from Sarawak and Sabah as spectators or to participate in these events,” said Acting Tourism Director, Mariani Hj Sabtu.
“The potential is there, especially if we market and promote these events correctly.”
Despite the successful hosting of Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy – a regional under-21 football tourney – several high-profile events such as the Tour de Brunei and golf’s Brunei Open were postponed indefinitely due to external factors.
The EPL Masters, an 11-a-side tournament featuring former Premier League stars, was also cancelled this year after months of promotion.
Mariani said events that attract high-profile sporting personalities have the potential to bring in tourists, but corporate sponsorship is key to making such events a success.
“These athletes have their own fan base, so these kinds of events have very good potential to bring in visitors.”
Last year, Brunei recorded three million tourist arrivals, comprising mostly cross-border visitors from Malaysian states Sabah and Sarawak.
The Brunei Tourism Board is targeting a 10 to 12 per cent increase in tourist arrivals this year, according to the acting director.
The Brunei Times