Cycling can help draw in tourists: Minister
SPORTING events held across routes carrying scenic views of the sultanate’s natural environment can be a draw for tourists, said the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism yesterday.
Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong said at the conclusion of last weekend's Lactic Labi cycling event that the private sector should consider tapping into sporting events which can draw tourists and doubly promote Brunei as an eco-tourism destination.
“Cycling (events) on these scenic routes is a good way to draw crowds, businesses and promote tourism,” said the minister, who pointed to yesterday's event — the largest cycling expedition into Jln Labi as positive private sector interest in marketing lesser known routes. The Lactic Labi ride, organised by Geotrax a local cycling company based out of Sg Liang — together with Raw Food Asia, saw 250 participants, including cyclists from neighbouring Miri and Hong Kong, travel an 80 kilometre route from Sg Liang Recreational Park to Labi's Community Hall and back.
The route from Sg Liang until the end of Jalan Labi is especially strategic; five of the 11 places to visit listed on Brunei tourism's website for Belait are located along the 45km stretch, which now intersects the Telisai-Lumut highway.
“When going to Labi, the route is very good, passing by parks like Luagan Lalak (where wooden huts oversee alluvial freshwater swamp),” said the minister.
He added that while areas like Kg Ayer in the capital and Temburong are being prioritised by the ministry at the moment, the private sector have the freedom to develop and market areas like Belait in accordance with the government's tourism policies.
Owner of Geotrax Brunei Reduan Yusop said his company was looking to partner with other organisers to promote cycling routes in Belait, which he says have yet to be extensively marketed.
“The cycling regulars, like those who are part of the Belait Cycling Club, or from Bandar, are familiar with the Labi route, but outside of that group, it is not that well known yet,” he said.
“As a cyclist, taking on a route without support or in a smaller group can be scary, so having a mass event where there is support from an organiser and other cyclists is definitely a draw.”
Yesterday's route also included four stops, at Sg Mau, Luagan Lalak and Melayan before the turn back point at Labi's community hall.
The Brunei Times