Officials are projecting a 10 per cent rise in Brunei’s year-on-year tourism arrivals, as the tally of visitors to the Sultanate last year is being finalised.
The growth is a marked increase in tourist arrivals, which the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism attributes to various tourism development initiatives.
“Tourism data indicates that tourist arrivals is expected to increase by 10 per cent towards the end of 2017, compared to 0.3 per cent in 2016,” YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong said yesterday at the opening of the International Tourism Conference and Exhibition (ICTE).
He credited this growth to new tourism product initiatives such as the Bandar Seri Begawan and Kg Ayer Heritage Trails, Tutong Destination packages and more recently, Brunei December Festival.
Acknowledging that Brunei faces steep competition in attracting tourists, the minister assured that his ministry will continue to develop the sector in order to sustain tourist inflows, especially by capitalising on the nation’s rich flora ecosystem and wildlife as well as advantageous location.
“Tourism development necessitates and must promote the inclusion of stakeholders… including local communities,” Dato Hj Ali said, calling on all stakeholders to work together to ensure the sustainability of Brunei’s tourism industry.
This is important, he said, as the tourism sector globally provides nearly 110 million jobs and is worth over US$2 trillion, making it a lucrative source of economy.
The ITCE is a two-day conference which ends today and among others, addresses topics such as identity and heritage conservation, niche tourisms and perspectives on tourism promotion.
For today’s session, Professor Dr Shahbaz Khan, director UNESCO Office in Jakarta, will speak on the theme: UNESCO Initiatives to Promote Sustainable Tourism and World
Also presenting their talks today are local industry players Dk Kemariah Pg Hj Duraman, founder of Kunyit7 Lodge, and Leslie Chiang, founder of Brunei-based tour company Borneo Guide and Sumbiling Eco Village.