Monday, October 04, 2010

Promoting Brunei at World Tourism Conference in KK

By Ben Ng in Kota Kinabalu

Sabah's rapidly growing tourism industry may bring benefits to Brunei's tourism industry, according to the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) who believes that tourism defies borders.

Speaking to reporters during a brief visit to Orchid Exhibition at the Suria Sabah Mall in Kota Kinabalu, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said that he believed tourism is an industry that defies borders when asked if Malaysia's fast-growing tourism industry would spill over into neighbouring Brunei.

Meanwhile, Director of Brunei Tourism, Sheikh Jamaluddin, who spoke to the media ahead of the World Tourism Conference 2010 held in Kota Kinabalu that starts today, said Brunei would be taking the opportunity to promote itself at the conference.

"It's good to have a world level conference so near to the Heart of Borneo. The whole idea of this conference is to update our knowledge as we are focusing on eco tourism. We value our environment and we're taking the opportunity also to promote Brunei," he said.

"I believe that tourism is an industry that defies borders. When it's good for you, it's also good for your neighbour. It's not the kind of industry that locks itself in. So definitely it will be good for everybody in this region," Taleb Rifai added.

"And to bring it this time here ... carries a message with it - that tourism should spread its benefits all over the country and nation. It's a fantastic opportunity to share experiences. We'll be looking at where the tourism industry has gone in the last three years especially in light of the economic crisis where Malaysia actually surfaced alone as a first class performer at a time when all other destinations were experiencing a plunge.

"We will assess the situation after this conference. If we feel that we need to accelerate the rhythm then we will do it. The fact that it's being held in Malaysia for the second time in a row is in itself very significant," Taleb Rifai explained.

The World Tourism Organisation believes that sharing the experience of successful destinations and organisations will help increase world tourism to the advantage of all, and will also help spread the benefits of tourism to less developed countries, thereby making an important contribution to one of the organisation's principal goals - poverty alleviation.

According to the WTC website, the conference, organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, was first held in Manila, in the Philippines in 1980 followed by Acapulco, Mexico in 1982.

After an absence of 25 years, the WTC returned for the third time in Kuala Lumpur in 2007.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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