Thursday, February 22, 2007

RBA to promote VBY 2008

By Azlan Othman

Brunei national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines is promoting the sultanate through special packages, increased frequencies, chartered golfing tours and overseas advertising.

It plans to adorn the Visit Brunei Year 2008 logo on its aircraft towards the end of this year, RBA said.

"Starting next year, it is no more an on/off campaign. We are aggressively promoting Brunei as a destination of choice. We had a discussion with Brunei Tourism on this matter (fixing the logo) and they support it," Rozman Junaidi, RBA Vice President for Corporate Communications said yesterday.

"RBA's marketing promotion is to prioritise Brunei on top of its 22 destinations, to support Brunei Tourism, create special packages and carry out advertising campaigns abroad.

"RBA works very closely with Brunei Tourism and Brunei Tourism Board and holds quarterly meetings with hoteliers and travel agents.

"RBA has 22 destinations to sell and Brunei is going to be the main focus during the VBY. Our staff abroad are promoting Brunei with packages and fares designed to accommodate visits to Brunei. For markets like Australia, we have created good attractive packages for them to come to Brunei, like a two-day stop-over package instead of just waiting at the airport transit lounge enroute to London.

"There are plans to increase flights to Hong Kong and China to accommodate the demand. The potential for the China market is vast and they like to travel in groups. We are focusing on 'twin city package' where tourists from China will stay both in Brunei and Kota Kinabalu.

The Chinese Embassy said recently there were over 40,000 Chinese travellers in 2005.

"For golfing, RBA will carry out some chartered flights bringing in premium travellers from South Korea.

"They seem to like playing golf here and the demand is encouraging.

"Feedbacks from them indicate the golfing price is competitive, and the facilities are of high quality and not congested.

Koreans go for signature golf courses like the one at the Empire Hotel and Country Club. Golfing is a good segment and Koreans travel in hundreds to Brunei. Golfing journalists were also invited to Brunei last month to test all its golf courses.

"Golfing is certainly on the top of their minds, attracting the premium Korean travellers through chartered flights. Besides, the target markets are Australia, Hong Kong, China and Asean, primarily Singapore and Malaysia.

"Travel journalists on familiarisation trips to Brunei produced very good documentaries about the sultanate. Majority of them labelled Brunei as a 'hidden gem' or 'mystical place' waiting to be discovered.

"Journalists from Europe took a while, up to six to eight months, to publish write-ups on Brunei as the articles had to 'queue-up'. It is not appropriate to highlight the tropical paradise during winter, when freelance writers would highlight skiing promotion, for instance.

"Next month, Hong Kong and Singapore journalists will travel to Brunei. Only selected journalists from renowned travel and lifestyle magazines will come," he said.

On efforts to lure the Middle East market where Malaysia is aggressively promoting, Rozman said, "It is a competitive market. The limited air route is a constraint because RBA flies only to Dubai and Jeddah, unlike in Malaysia where Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar Airways and Emirates fly to Kuala Lumpur.

"However, we almost have the same attractions to lure them here like ideal family leisure holiday, safety, availability of halal food and being a Muslim country," he said.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

No comments: