‘Brunei-China air network crucial to boost economy’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MORE air connectivity between Brunei and China are needed in order to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges and boost the tourism industry of both countries, according to the Brunei Ambassador to China.
Datin Paduka Magdalene Teo said that Brunei’s air connectivity to major cities such as Beijing and Tianjin are crucial in boosting tourism between Brunei and China.
“Aside from people-to-people exchange between students, another fundamental area that ties people of both countries is the tourism sector,” she said in an interview during her visit at Nanjing Normal University recently.
She said that currently there are limited flights between the two countries — one to Shanghai and the recently added route to Zhengzhou.
“From time to time we also have flights from Xiamen and now we are considering to add more new routes this year,” she said.
“This is important as next year is also ASEAN-China tourism year,” she said, adding that in tourism cooperation, China offers a huge potential for tourists from around the world.
Datin Teo also highlighted that to further enhance tourism between Brunei and China, the government of Brunei has introduced visa on arrival for a maximum stay of two weeks for Chinese tourists in May this year.
“We hope that there will be more flights looking at Tianjin and Beijing, which we used to have before but there was not enough traffic at that time so I think we need to revive that route as well.”
She added that Brunei is also looking at the possibilities of adding new routes to some major cities in Henan and Hebei provinces, which are located near to Zhengzhou and Beijing, respectively.
Datin Teo acknowledged that to be granted with the freedom or right of a country’s airspace may be difficult especially taking into account the heavy air traffic in China. “But there are also codesharing flights that many airlines are doing now in easing the process of travelling to a country,” said Datin Teo, suggesting that Brunei will take this approach if access to China’s airspace proves to be challenging.
Next year will also highlight the milestone of Brunei and China relations as Brunei will be the Country of Honour for the annual trade fair of 2017 China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO).
The Brunei Times