Public favours plan to privatise recreational parks
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PUBLIC opinion seems to be generally in favour of the government’s plans to privatise recreational parks that have the potential to become key tourist attractions.
During the recent 12th Legislative Council meeting, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong, told the legislative council that the private sector is expected to start managing the Berakas Forest Reserve Recreational Park in August this year.
During the meeting the minister said that, if the PPP (public-private partnership) for the Berakas Forest Reserve Recreational Park is successful, it will be extended and shared with other agencies to develop other locations as the country’s tourist destinations to cater to local and foreign visitors.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Hj Zainal, a local tour operator, said that he welcomed the move on condition that the entrance fee to the park be carefully thought out, especially for locals.
“These days, many Bruneians go to the park for fitness, leisure and family outings. If you start to introduce entrance fees, the immediate impact could be less Bruneians going to the park and looking for an alternative place which is free,” he said.
“Perhaps, they could make the entrance to the park free or minimal, but charge for the use of facilities in the park such as toilets, activities, games, and so on,” he added.
He said that privatisation of recreational parks is a good move as it will help the government save money on maintenance as well as further develop their potential as a tourist attraction.
He said that there are many potential activities that can be introduced at the parks such as group trekking, eco races, educational trips for school children, obstacle courses and also extreme sport activities.
In another interview, Diyana, 28, said that privatisation of the parks would help make the running of the parks more efficient, and will support and improve the country’s tourism industry. She said that she hoped that the new introductions from the privatisation will prove to be popular among visitors.
Meanwhile, Azemah, 18, a first year student from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, said that she looked forward to seeing what new attractions will be introduced at the parks and said that it will give Bruneians more recreational and leisure activities to try out.
The Brunei Times