Gov’t seeks to privatise Kg Ayer Tourism Gallery
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE government is looking to privatise the Kampong Ayer Tou-rism Gallery and have potential investors develop its surroundings into more of a commercial area.
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong said, “We want to outsource the operation, management and maintenance of the gallery to private sectors and we will allow them to develop further the areas surrounding the gallery so that it will become vibrant, and can be developed for commercial shopping, like more food, more restaurants, cafes and shops.”
The decision, according to Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong, who was on a working visit to Laksmana College of Business yesterday, is hoped to generate more tourist activities around the area.
He pointed out that the commercial centre that private sector can develop in the area is limitless and can even go beyond the typical handicrafts and souvenir shops, convenient stores, children playgrounds, restaurants or even event venues suitable for weddings and receptions, to name a few.
He noted that the gallery has been ‘quiet’ recently because tourists only spend a short amount of time at the gallery and then return back to town (land) as there are limited attractions nearby the gallery.
An earlier report this month stated that the number of visitors to the gallery is declining from 15, 298 in 2014 to 15, 171 in 2015.
The gallery marked the highest record of visitors in 2013 with a total of 15, 538 visitors since its inauguration in 2009.
The minister said that upgrading the area into a commercial centre will attract more people as visitors will then have variety of choices and activities to do.
“We want to make sure the gallery becomes a tourist destination, but not (just) on the gallery itself,” he said, adding that having other facilities in the surrounding areas might boost an influx of tourists to the gallery and Kg Ayer in general.
The minister also added that currently they are in the process of discussing the projects with other government agencies and stakeholders, including village heads and locals in the areas in attaining their ‘endorsement and agreement’ to the matter.
“So far, their response has been very positive, and they welcome the idea,” said the minister.
“This is one spot, but if this is successful, we can duplicate it to other areas or kampungs,” added the minister.
The Brunei Times