BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) is drafting a Tourism Industry Roadmap and compiling a database of tourism products and services nationwide.

The Tourism Industry Roadmap, drawn up in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, will outline the short, medium, and long-term plans to develop Brunei’s tourism industry, said Primary Resources and Tourism Minister Dato Dr Hj Abdul Manaf Hj Metussin, though he did not provide any further details.

Speaking at the Legislative Council meeting on Tuesday, Dato Dr Hj Abdul Manaf explained that with the help of a comprehensive inventory database, the Department of Tourism Development will continue to work with the country’s major tourism operators to provide more attractive tourism packages for domestic and international markets.

“There is a gap between tourism service providers in the village and district levels, and travel and tourism agents. With the industry roadmap, we will be able to ‘match’ service providers with tourism agents to create unique tourism packages,” he said.

“One of the regions the department is targeting is Japan and Korea. To promote the country’s tourism packages, the department will assist local tourism agents in promoting and marketing these packages at tourism expos in those countries,” the minister added.

The relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions has boosted tourist arrivals from 3,543 in 2021 to 35,701 in 2022, according to the latest statistics provided by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC).

However, MTIC projected that pre-COVID air passenger level of 2,186,825 arrivals in 2019 will not be reached again until 2026.

Tourism development through PPP

The government has allocated approximately $580,000 towards developing the tourism industry in the 2023/24 fiscal year budget.

Dato Dr Hj Abdul Manaf said MPRT does not want to be reliant on government funding to develop tourism infrastructure and is seeking public-private partnerships to upgrade tourism facilities around the country.

Citing an example, the minister said the government is partnering with Sundaland Resorts Pte Ltd (registered in Brunei as Mandai Global Pte Ltd), a subsidiary of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, to develop the facilities at Ulu Temburong National Park into a luxury resort, which will be managed by an international hotel chain.

MPRT has also signed a separate PPP contract to build a $450,000 luxury restaurant in Temburong’s Bukit Patoi Recreational Park.