‘Improve accessibility of tourism facilities’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TOURISM industry players need to take measures to ensure Brunei’s infrastructure is disabled-friendly for the sultanate to be an inclusive tourism destination, tour operators said.
Foo Chuan Pyng, general manager of Century Travel Centre, said it is important for the tourism industry to not only include tourists of different economic backgrounds but also tourists who are differently abled.
“Most of the places in Brunei lack the facilities that make places easily accessible to the physically challenged, not just wheelchair-bound individuals but also the elderly (and) this creates a certain challenge for these individuals’ mobility,” he said in an interview.
He said the country’s museums also lack disabled-friendly facilities, preventing differently abled individuals to visit them.
Speaking on this year’s World Tourism Day theme of ‘Tourism for All’, Foo said it is always important for the tourism industry to cater to individuals from different walks of life.
Tourism is not only about the exploration of different countries but also understanding the different cultures and people, he added.
According to UN’s World Tourism Organization (WTO), accessible tourism for all is about the creation of environments that can cater to the needs of everyone.
“May that be due to a disability, even temporary, families with small children, or the ageing population, at some point in our lives, sooner or later, we all benefit of universal accessibility in tourism,” added WTO to mark World Tourism Day, which falls every September 27.
Syuib Sulaiman, a tour coordinator from Freme Travels, said although Brunei has not been able to cater to tourists who are differently abled yet, the country’s tourism industry does provide a diversity of products that cater to high and low income tourists.
“I think when it comes to tourism products, the country has a diverse selection for those low income tourists or budget travellers (because) if you see the museums that are found in the capital, it is free of charge for both locals and foreigners,” he said.
He said other tourism products featured in Brunei, such as homestays, can also provide an alternative means of accommodation for low income tourists.
Co-founder of Eco Ponies Garden Eyon Ukoi said government and private agencies should consider further exploring Brunei’s traditional food as part of the country’s tourism products as “food is the most accessible tourism product for any tourist”.
She added that it is important to highlight the country’s traditional food as it is directly connected to the Brunei’s cultural heritage, adding that tourists often take the opportunity when travelling to taste the traditional food of the country they are visiting.
“If we are talking about being inclusive, food is loved by all (and) it is the one thing that connects everyone and furthermore, beautiful things happen when you bring people together over for food,” she said.
The Brunei Times