Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brunei expect more Korean tourists

By Achong Tanjong

Brunei is expecting more arrivals of Korean tourists in light of the better economic times. In 2009, the arrival of Koreans fell due to the world financial crisis. With their currency dropping by 40 per cent, they were forced to stay home because travelling became too expensive.

This was yesterday revealed by Brunei Tourism CEO Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed during the opening of the three-day Asean Tourism HRD Programme at Orchid Garden Hotel.

The programme is part of the Asean overall strategy, which includes the Asean plus three (Japan, China and Korea).

"Japan has had an Asean-Japan Centre for many years now. That is why we, in Asean, are encouraging China and Korea to set up similar centres. This will allow Asean to identify opportunities and work closely with Korea and China," he said, adding that the programme is in the commission of the Asean-Korean Centre.

Part of the activities is to go around every Asean city to explain to stakeholders (including hoteliers and travel agents among others) what Korea is all about as a country, its people and its culture. This will allow others to better understand them. Indonesia is next on the list after Brunei.

"This is very good and it is all about human resources development," said the CEO, who added that Korea is one of Brunei's target market.

In regard to relations between Brunei tourism and Korea, he said that the Sultanate enjoys good relations. This is evident in the fact that despite Korea being a country that the Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) does not fly to, it still has 'force arrivals' to Brunei.

"Imagine if RBA had a stop over in Seoul, there would be even more (Korean visitors)," he said.

The Asean-Korea Centre and Brunei Tourism is holding the three-day training programme which is designed to help Brunei tourism industry professionals to further improve service provided to Korean tourists.

The Asean Tourism Human Resources Development Programme from May 24 - 26 will provide training courses on Korean tourism, Korean culture and manners, and basic Korean language. It will be delivered by Korean experts.

According to a press release from Tourism Brunei, the number of Korean tourists visiting Brunei had decreased recently due to the global economic crisis and discontinuation of chartered flights.

However, there is high potential for growth of Korean tourism in Brunei as the country rebounds rapidly from the recession.

The Korean tourism lectures will closely look into Korean outbound tourism trends as well as how to market Korean tourists. With the Korean culture and business manner sessions, participants will gain tips on how to provide services that are especially attuned to the needs of Korean tourists.

Korean language trainings will allow tour professionals to learn basic Korean phrases, which will help better accommodate Korean customers.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

No comments: