‘Brunei must do more to boost tourist arrivals’

National 1 minute, 58 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI needs to upgrade its tourist accommodations and build more in order to improve the country’s tourism industry, said a government official.

In an interview yesterday on the sidelines of a cultural and tourism exhibition organised by the Pakistan High Commission at the Brunei-Muara District Office, Wardi Hj Mohd Ali, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, said this has to be done in order to help the country achieve its goal of increasing tourist arrivals.

According to Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong, there were around 218,000 tourist arrivals by air in 2015.

He said the ministry is targeting to increase the figure to 450,000 per year by 2020.

Wardi Hj Mohd Ali said it’s crucial for the country to establish more accommodations to house the targeted number of tourists.

“Currently, there are around 74 registered accommodations for tourists including hotels, apartments and homestays.

“It’s important for us to have quality accommodations and not just quantity. But in order to achieve growth in tourism in the coming years, we’re required to build more accommodations,” he said, adding that more such accommodations can be built in districts like Temburong and Tutong.

He said homestays can contribute to the growth of accommodations in the country as they offer activities for tourists and allow them to interact with the locals.

Around 14 homestays are currently available nationwide, he said.

“In order to ensure the safety of visitors and tourists to homestays, the ministry is working closely with the homestay owners to ensure they meet the standards required for their premises.”

Besides family and business visits, he said around 40 per cent of the tourists come to the sultanate for holiday purposes.

He said the ministry is also making an effort to improve tourism packages in order to meet their target.

“By 2020, we’re projecting 450,000 tourist arrivals. This requires us to strengthen our tourism packages, particularly those in Bandar Seri Begawan and Temburong and soon other places in Brunei.”

Wardi Hj Mohd Ali added that boosting the country’s tourism requires involvement of all levels of society and stakeholders.

“The tourism sector is contributing to our GDP growth. We believe with more participation and involvement from the private sector and stakeholders, the country will be able to improve the tourism industry.”

The Brunei Times