Brunei To Join Forum To Bolster Asean Tourism

By Ubaidillah Masli

Bandar Seri
Begawan – Brunei Tourism along with other key players of the
local tourism industry will soon be departing for Hanoi, Vietnam to
participate in the 28th Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) 2009.

the most important and largest-scale activity in the Asean
tourism cooperation framework, the eight-day forum will see
an expected 1,500 delegates comprising tourism ministers,
leaders of national tourism offices, travel agents, tour
operators, press corps from the region and around the world.

Leading the Brunei
delegation is the Minister of Industry and Primary
Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj
Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, who will be
accompanied by other senior officials from the ministry as
well as the Brunei Tourism board. Members of the Brunei
Association of Hotels (BAH) and the Brunei Association of
Travel Agencies

Mohd Jeffrey Hj Mohd Sunnylai said
that Brunei’s annual participation in the ATF is important since the
forum provided a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas on
how to improve the tourism industries of the Asean member states and
in promoting Asean as a single tourism destination. He said that
Brunei’s delegations will be flying off for Vietnam on January 6,
where they will attend the line-up of meetings which include
ministerial and senior official meetings amongst the Asean countries
and as well as its dialogue partners.

Mohd Jeffrey anticipated that one
of the issues that should play great relevance in these meetings
would be concerns on safety aspects for tourists visiting Asean

Referring to the New Year’s
incident in Bangkok, where a fire broke out at a nightclub and
resulted in a number of casualties among tourists, he said that
discussions on safeguarding the image of Asean as a favourable
tourist destination

could be one of the hot topics during this
year’s ATF. “Tourism is like fire, it can cook your food but it can
also burn your house down,” he said in an interview with The Brunei
Times yesterday.

Mohd Jeffrey said that the
highlight of the Brunei delegation’s involvement in this year’s ATF
is the “Brunei Night”, a dinner which is hosted by Brunei Tourism on
the fifth day of the forum.

He said that the dinner would be
held in conjunction with the 29th Asean Tourism Forum, which the
Sultanate will be hosting in 2010.

This year’s theme, “Asean Tourism-
Striving for a New Height”, reflects upon Asean’s determination and
dedication in its new initiatives to boost the Asean tourist brand
image and to promote the region as a single tourist destination in
this era of global competition, according to the ATF 2009 website.
This year will be the last year for the region to achieve full
integration in moving towards the realisation of an Asean Economic

ATF was first held in 1981 in
Malaysia and since then, Asean countries have annually been taking
turns to organise the event.

ATF 2009 has reportedly received an
“overwhelming response”, selling out more than 550 booths for the
Travex, which will be held at the Vietnam Exhibition Fair Centre
from January 10 to 12. A high number of trade buyers have also shown
interest in the travel fair, with 400 of them hosted and many more
participating the fair on their own account.
Courtesy of The Brunei Times