Tutong tourism marketable regionally

National 2 minutes, 25 seconds


TOURISM development in Tutong is at the point where it can be marketed regionally, especially to neighbouring countries like Malaysia or Singapore, said a visiting fellow from the United States.

Jillian Childress, a local government management fellow from the International City Managers Association in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said this yesterday during a session with local members of the press at the Mabohai Shopping Complex.

“I found the Tutong district to be very organised in their tourism development efforts, with itineraries which were well-put together.

“I would like to see how it progresses in the next three to five years, as it has the potential to be the best in terms of tourism and economic development for the country,” Childress said.

The fellow has been in Brunei since February 20, as part of a reciprocal visit under the 2015 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) programme.

According to Aziman Nasir, who visited the US in 2015 as a YSEALI Professional Fellow and who hosted Childress, she is the first American citizen to be hosted in Brunei as part of the YSEALI programme.

“We met with many corporations and plenty of government departments as well as non-government organisations, who have all been very welcoming.

“We’ve asked questions and shared knowledge, and learnt from each other about best practices and policies,” he said.

Childress said having the opportunity to discuss and learn about the government structures here had been “engaging”.

“I really enjoyed getting to learn about what is in place here – seeing the similarities and differences, understanding the challenges and learning that some of the challenges that the government is experiencing here are very similar to the challenges that municipalities in the US are also experiencing,” she said.

The American fellow also mentioned certain similarities between Bruneian and American young professionals.

“I think young professionals here are wanting to take their careers to the same next level as those in the US.

“We’re very motivated, very determined, hardworking, and we’re wanting to push that into our work and our careers, and really do something change-worthy,” she said.

Childress said she hoped to see more US citizens visiting Brunei in the future, as part of YSEALI or other similar programmes.

“I think cultural awareness is the biggest thing I’m taking away from Brunei – I feel as though I want to bring that back, as not too many people are aware about Brunei and this part of the world.

“I definitely want to let my family and friends know that Brunei is definitely a place to visit, and that they should consider it,” she said.

Childress is scheduled to leave Brunei on March 5.

Among the aims of the YSEALI programme are to strengthen ties between Southeast Asian nations and the United States, by focusing on critical youth-identified topics such as civic engagement, environment and natural resources management, and entrepreneurship and economic development.

The Brunei Times