Brunei set to promote niche tourism
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI is set to promote itself as a destination for experiential tourism in a niche market by taking advantage of its resources, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources said.
In an interview with the local media, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, said the ministry is taking a more focused and manageable approach to showcase the country’s uniqueness.
The minister said that a more focused approach will allow the country to engage the tourists as well as tie the tourism products with the “historical, beautiful and environmental parts of Brunei”.
Brunei is looking towards the niche market and promoting differentiated tourism because it cannot compete on the same level as other countries, YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said.
“We cannot sell big volumes in Brunei because we are limited in terms of capacity, accommodation and transport,” the minister said, adding that niche tourists are willing to pay a premium for the experience.
The minister said that with the facilities we have available, we can specifically target these tourists that are willing to pay extra with all the services provided.
Brunei is operating a spectrum of cultural and experiential tour-ism, YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said, adding that some tourists seek to experience the life and condition of the country.
He said that the ministry is targeting specific and specialised groups of tourists, especially those that want to learn about the Bru-nei’s history, as well as ethical tourists, those that are wary about guarding the environment.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said, “by (targeting a niche market) we are including the tourists coming into the country in our efforts to protect the environment”.
Last month, Brunei hosted the last leg of the Borneo Bird Race which gathered birdwatchers from all over Asia into the country to see who could find the most species of birds as well as be the first one to find a new species of bird.
The minister said that the birdwatchers come into the country with some prior knowledge of bird conditions. These specialised tourists would promote the preservation of rainforests in the country as a way of protecting bird species.
The efforts undertaken by the ministry to promote these tourism activities are not focused solely on foreign tourists, but also cater to domestic tourists, he said. “With these new tourism products, the locals do not have to go outside of the country to experience them.”
The minister said that these tourism products can curb the number of local and foreign tourists going out of the country.
Locals will benefit from these products as they are going to have easy access to it and get it at a cheaper rate, the minister said.
“If they travel out of the country, then it will add to the total costs and might be inconvenient for them in terms of travelling to the place,” YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said. “In Brunei, there’s still a lot to be seen and explore, so (inbound tourism) is something that we are encouraging.”
Yesterday, YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya launched a river cruise service along the Brunei River, to add to the country’s tourism products offerings.
The river cruise takes advantages of existing facilities, said the minister. “We already have the existing infrastructures, such as the waterfront and the cultural village across the river, in place along the historical river, so now we’re just looking at improving the Brunei River through regulatory work.”
He added that in a few year’s time, when the construction of the bridge crossing the Brunei River finishes, it will added value to the tour operator.
He continued saying that the ministry will continue to support, encourage and provide assistance to local companies trying to build Brunei’s tourism industry.
The minister said that the ministry will help the companies by making the setting up process easier and also by ensuring that it becomes established, so that it can be included in tourism brochures as one of the tourist activities and products available in the country.
The Brunei Times