Monday, March 29, 2010

Shanghai-Brunei direct flight lands, tourism takes off

By James Kon & Siti Hajar

Ninety Chinese tourists touched down at the Brunei International Airport last night on board the Royal Brunei Airlines' (RBA) direct flight from Shanghai (BI614) after a two-year break, marking a big boost for Brunei tourism.

It's the first flight in two years after the national carrier suspended the services to Shanghai in 2008.

The resumption of the direct flight service to Shanghai could help boost the country's tourism industry.

Director of Tourism, Sheikh Jamaluddin, said the resumption of the services will assist in building the nation's tourism industry.

"Connectivity is key," he said and added that the service will give tourists from China, through Shanghai, the opportunity to visit the Abode of Peace.

"The more connections Royal Brunei Airlines makes, the better it is for Brunei tourism," he said.

The Director of Tourism said that Brunei Tourism's target market is based on Royal Brunei Airlines' routes and added, "RBA is our most important stakeholder."

Sheikh Jamaluddin also stated that Brunei Tourism is currently in talks with Royal Brunei Airlines in a bid to further promote Brunei Darussalam as a tourism destination through roadshows.

He also said that parties from Brunei will meet tourism agents from China as well as the Chinese media to introduce the Land of Unexpected Treasures to China.

Of the 90 passengers who arrived last night, 53 have come on a tour package offered by PJ Majestic.

To welcome the arrival of the first batch of tourists, PJ Majestic had organised a group of hadrah players to welcome them.

The travel agent said, "The direct flight will certainly boost the local tourism sector in Brunei Darussalam. Local travel agents are welcoming the move by RBA in reopening the route.

"It will not only be Chinese tourists from Shanghai but also people from provinces around Shanghai can now come to Brunei conveniently, thanks to the direct flight," she said.

She added, "Previously, the Chinese tourists had to go through Hong Kong in order to come to Brunei. The airfare used to be more expensive and it also took more time."

Meanwhile, some 70 passengers flew to Shanghai in the morning flight. RBA is currently flying to and from Shanghai four times weekly.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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