Bruneian travellers not concerned over Zika

National 1 minute, 58 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

TRAVEL agencies and tour operators in Brunei say the recent outbreaks of the Zika virus in neighbouring countries haven’t affected Bruneians’ travel plans so far.

Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday on the sidelines of Brunei Travel Fair 2016, Michael Lee, managing director of Freme Travel Services, said Bruneians haven’t been put off from travelling to neighbouring countries affected by the virus such as Singapore and Malaysia as they don’t regard it as a grave threat at the moment.

“People still feel safe and secure when visiting popular destinations in nearby countries such as Singapore because the virus isn’t as lethal as the SARS outbreak, for example,” he said.

“My understanding is that the spread of the Zika virus has been limited to places not normally frequented by tourists in both Singapore and Malaysia, and at the same time, tourists from Brunei have confidence that the governments of the affected countries can contain its spread.”

May Goh, sales manager at Anthony Tours and Travel Agency, said travellers purchasing tickets for trips planned for December or next year don’t foresee the Zika virus still being a problem by the time they head off.

“No one has raised any concerns regarding the Zika virus so far, and I suppose the general feeling among people is that it’s not a life-threatening outbreak, so (the spreading of the virus) doesn’t really bother them at the moment,” she said.

The General Manager of Century Travel Centre, CP Foo, said although he had received some calls regarding upcoming trips to Singapore from clients, the travel agency hasn’t received any requests from them to cancel their trips in light of the Zika virus.

“We just advised (clients who called) to take the necessary precautions, especially during the evening and nighttime. But as yet, there are no cancellations,” he said.

“In terms of selling (airline) tickets since the outbreak of the virus in neighbouring countries, it doesn’t seem to have been affected, as people are planning for trips many months ahead.”

The Ministry of Health yesterday issued a statement in response to the first locally-transmitted Zika virus infection in the nearby Malaysian state of Sabah saying that the “geographical spread of the virus appears to be widening” and urged people to remain vigilant in controlling the infection’s spread.

The Brunei Times