By Azaraimy HH in Nanning
"The Chinese see Brunei as an exotic place to visit, a unique destination that offers peace and tranquillity as well as beauty and colour, different from other Asean countries," Mr Songkai, Chairman of Beijing Longway Investment Co Ltd, said.
Some 10 top media personnel and 100 people from China's fast growing travel industry attended a Brunei Tourism Road Show in Guijing Hotel located in the high-street corner of Nanning City yesterday.
The road show is conducted by the Brunei Tourism Development Department together with members of the Brunei Tourism industry and with the assistance of Beijing Longway Investment Co Ltd, the parent company of the Royal Brunei Airlines General Sales Agent in Beijing.
It is part of a series of three road shows in Nanning, Kunming and Chongqing, where Brunei still relatively remains a less known travel destination.
"This is our strategy," said Brunei Tourism chief Sheikh Jamaluddin during the road show. "I am taking advice from travel agents here to fish somewhere that is less known.
"Some people asked me, why do we want to hold a road show in places where Brunei is still relatively unknown to the people. But this is like fishing, you never know what happens until you go fishing in that area," Sheikh Jamaluddin said.
With a growing number of affluent people in China, outbound tourism is on the rise, and Brunei could become a stop for them if only the tourism promotion keeps pace with China's growth.
Mr Songkai said Brunei still needs a lot of effort and it is an ongoing process.
Miss Lu Yeng, a travel journalist from Modern Life Daily, told the Bulletin that she does not know much about Brunei, but she said she knows Brunei as a coastal country, with beautiful beaches, lovely forests and amazing people.
After the road show, she said she would definitely feature Brunei as one of the hot destinations in Asean countries due to its uniqueness and nature. She said Brunei has a niche - its beauty and people.
Mr Songkai said the Sultanate's Empire Hotel & Country Club can be a destination of its own. He said China has a growing number of affluent people, and the Empire Hotel offers both as a beautiful getaway and a very affordable package that could make it as a frequent destination.
The Brunei Tourism said the objective of the road show is to increase awareness about Brunei as a destination and about the RBA flights available from Shanghai and Hong Kong to the Chinese media and travel industry partners at the three second-tier cities in China.
The road shows are expected to attract interest from market areas that are not yet exposed to Brunei.
The format of the road shows, according to the Brunei Tourism, will be the same in each city, and will consist of an evening reception during which a presentation on Brunei and RBA will be made, followed by a networking session between Brunei industry members and their Chinese counterparts, games, animation and prize presentation culminating with a banquet.
Brunei Tourism said the road shows are expected to result in increased sales volumes within a relatively short period of time, probably starting from the 2008 Lunar New Year holiday period.
It is customary for countries to embark on such promotional exercises for their key markets, and with China being Brunei's top market in terms of holiday visits, with some 30,000 tourists from China projected to visit Brunei in 2007, it is timely for Brunei Tourism to woo the market in a more direct way and take the opportunity to begin the road show in Nanning during their participation in the 4th China-Asean Expo.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin