‘Privatising Queen’s Jetty can help boost tourism’

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PRIVATISING the area in and around the Queen Elizabeth II Jetty in Kampung Dato Gandi can help in the nation’s tourism development, said Sha-Zan Marine Sdn Bhd’s human resources manager.

Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, Taufik Hidayat, who is also the spokesperson for the MV Sentosa double-deck vessel cruise service, said the MV Sentosa, the sultanate’s only cruise ship, plays an important role in developing the tourism industry.

In addition, the Queen Elizabeth II Jetty is an important part of the nation’s heritage because it commemorates the historic visit of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II to Brunei in 1972 while the cruise service is a gateway for tourists to develop a better understanding of the nation’s river dwelling origins, he said.

“We need to show the foreign tourists that Bruneians originally came from the water village houses before they migrated to land,” said Taufik.

Taufik said the repair and cleaning of the jetty is carried out by privately owned Sha-Zan Marine, but other areas around the jetty including the parking area are under the jurisdiction of the Museums Department of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

The limited parking space in front of the jetty needs to be addressed as it is a hurdle for attracting local customers and foreign tourists, said Taufik.

“We hope the government can help us improve the public facilities, especially (by expanding) the parking area, because currently parking space is very limited,” he said.

The river cruise company has borne the cost of repairing the five-decade-old jetty and provided public facilities for the local community, including building a prayer hall for those who fish along the river nearby, he added.

Taufik said Sha-Zan Marine is in the process of getting permission from government agencies to privatise the area around the jetty so it can improve the landscape and environment.

“If the area is privatised, we will beautify the compound area and build infrastructure including chalets, additional parking space, galleries and souvenir shops,” he said.

Taufik said although most of the customers are locals, there are also foreign tourists using the cruise service.

“We have passengers from France, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. We are well known. That’s why infrastructure around the jetty is important to maintain the number of tourists. One way for it is through privatisation.”

The Brunei Times