Travel agents seek talks with MPRT to improve tourism
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Association of Travel Agents Brunei (ATAB) is looking to increase its collaboration with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) to address problems and develop the local tourism industry.
As part of the association’s recent rebranding, ATAB Assistant Treasurer Wong Thye Sing said they are keen to work more closely with MPRT to promote dialogue between local travel agents and government agencies.
ATAB, which was formerly known as the Brunei Association of Travel Agents (BATA), will “act as a voice” for its 40 registered members to discuss the challenges they face in the industry.
“We serve as a platform, where there’s dialogue between the government and travel agents. We’re hoping to make sure there are some concrete developments coming from this collaboration,” said Wong in a recent interview.
He said the move will help to develop the tourism industry in support of Brunei’s economic diversification efforts.
“We want to highlight a lot of challenges the travel agents face like immigration issues such as the multiple-entry visa for Chinese tourists.
The industry also has some issues with unregistered travel guides and agents, operators who don’t follow standards,” he continued.
Through regular dialogue, Wong hoped ATAB can come up with potential solutions to address these issues with the input of travel agents and support of the government.
“In previous years, the industry saw a lot of one-way reporting. Everybody just complains about the problems, but nobody really talks about what they can do. It’s hard for us to just tell the government to fix it because they are not running the travel agents,” he said.
He said the tourism industry will benefit through increased safety standards and levels of professionalism among travel agents.
“We’ve had some meetings with Brunei Tourism about this and they’ve shown us a lot of support. We recently met with the minister and we were able to discuss some of the challenges that our members face,” said Wong.
Elaborating on ATAB’s rebranding strategy, Wong said they also plan to increase the association’s presence online and promote its activities via social media.
“I’m the youngest member there, so I’m trying to get them to build their presence on social media as way of connecting them with the members and also with the government. I think everyone has been very positive and receptive to that,” he said.
The Brunei Times