The government wants to boost visitor traffic to Temburong this year through new tour programmes and improvements in infrastructure, with two new eco-friendly resorts in the offing.

During a Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting on Monday, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) laid out several new initiatives to enhance Temburong as an attractive travel destination for tourists.

Among the initiatives include relaunching the Temburong Holiday Destination Packages later this year with “better deals” to attract visitors both locally and abroad, said MPRT minister YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong.

YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism. Photo: Infofoto

First introduced in 2016 and currently operated by six companies, the Temburong Holiday Destination Packages offer three days and two nights stay in the district and includes trips to Ulu Temburong National Park, Batang Duri and Bangar Town.

“We plan to relaunch the Temburong Holiday Destination Packages later this year. It will be more attractive with more options for tourists and at competitive prices,” said YB Dato Hj Ali, adding that the packages will introduce single day trips and night jungle trekking, to name a few.

According to the minister, the programme has successfully raised visitor numbers in Temburong by 8.4 per cent between September and December 2015 and during same period in 2016 (from 1,304 to 1,416 people).

YB Dato Hj Ali added that his ministry wants to make travelling around Bangar on foot more convenient and accessible  to encourage tourists to explore the town and points of interest in the area. He said that the Bangar Walking Trail initiative will see signage and information boards set up to highlight attractions and historical sites in the town.

Other projects highlighted during the meeting include the development of new eco-friendly resorts in Batang Duri and Kg Peradayan via public-private partnerships. “Both projects are currently being tendered and awaiting takers,” the minister said, adding that these new facilities would help accommodate more visitors coming to the district.

For years, the well-preserved nature and ecosystem in Temburong remains a key selling point as a tourism destination in Brunei.

River tubing is a popular water activity in Temburong. Photo: Ain Bandial/The Scoop

Another topic which touched on tourism at today’s meeting was a joint-effort by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the MPRT to make Istana Darussalam as a primary tourist site in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin said that the Istana has been recognised as a national monument and is already included in the Bandar Seri Begawan Heritage Trail.

YB Dato Hj Aminuddin also said that information on the Istana is already included in tour pamphlets, detailing the history of the former residence of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and the late Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien.

The Istana Darussalam’s visibility has been further enhanced following the recent opening of Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas in the capital.