Saturday, September 01, 2007

Visit Brunei not next year

By Azlan Othman

The Visit Brunei Year (VBY) will not happen next year, but would probably be in 2009 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of our independence or 2010 to coincide with the Asean Tourism Forum (ATF), which Brunei is expected to host, CEO of Brunei Tourism Board revealed.

Speaking to the Weekend, Sheikh Jamaluddin said, "We were just toying with the idea of hosting it next year. It was not officially endorsed by the Tourism Board. We called 2008 as celebrating Brunei 2008-09.

On Brunei's big tourist spending in Malaysia where over $400 million (RM 1.1 billion) were spent during the first half of this year, Sheikh Jamaluddin said this is where the Kenali Negara Kitani (KNK) campaign or know our country is important as a step towards promoting Brunei's domestic tourism.

"The KNK campaign is very important in trying to encourage Bruneians to spend their holiday in the country itself. This goes to show the importance of Brunei to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) to open more supermarkets, departmental stores and more high quality shopping in Brunei."

Malaysia's Bernama reported Malaysia's Deputy Tourism Minister, Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai, saying recently that Brunei is the third biggest contributor to Malaysia's tourism revenue after Singapore and Indonesia with RM 10.8 billion and RM 1.7 billion respectively.

Sheikh Jamaluddin added tourism is very important for Brunei. If we can bring more visitors to the country, these visitors will create the demand for the shop to prosper in their business. Tourism is a very important part of the nation building.

Talking about the current Brunei Golf Open, Sheikh Jamaluddin said players who come to Brunei for the first time love it. Our job is to market Brunei and it comes in many forms like golfing, familiarisation trips, trade shows and advertising.

During the recent KNK roadshow held at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, it was highlighted that in three years, KNK is expected to encourage Brunei citizens to be tourists in their own country, increase SME growth, increase quality of available products and lessen the dependence on foreign tourists.

Tourism has created 11 per cent of employment for locals and therefore it was important to develop tourism and the need for everyone to know about tourism. To support our international campaign, we want to focus on domestic (tourism) first and we have KNK partners ready to support us. The campaign is a domestic branding to promote domestic tourism, which gives emphasis on programmes, activities and events to promote domestic tourism.

The objective of the KNK is to increase demand and develop domestic tourism, to make Brunei an interesting destination, educate society on the potential of tourism industry, and open opportunities of employment and business. It is hoped that Brunei would be able to achieve $356 million in tourism industries by 2023.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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