Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei will be looking to Malaysia to aid in
enhancing the Sultanate’s tourism data collection systems as well as
cooperate on other tourism-related areas following a bilateral meet
between the tourism ministers of both countries yesterday.
The ministers met at the sidelines of the Mean Tourism Forum (ATF)
2010 at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
Speaking to the local press after the meeting, Brunei’s Minister of
Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri
Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Baker said that the
cooperation would see Brunei Tourism enlisting Malaysia’s help to build
their capacity in data collection such as tourist numbers, arrivals and
“We want to understand how they (Malaysia) do data collection and
data mining (since) they have a wider experience, they have bigger
numbers, bigger borders and bigger immigration posts,” the minister
Pehin Dato Hj Yahya stressed the importance of having an efficient
system in place “as a base” before a country can develop their tourism
products to suit the tourists. “Before you start anything, you have to
have a good figure of how many tourists are arriving, what sort of age
(groups), how many days they stay here… so that we can target the
pitch of our products,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Brunei Tourism Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Jamaluddin
Sheikh Mohamed, also present during the bilateral meeting, said the
proposed cooperation in data collection, was one of the “key points” to
consider in tourism.
“We want to see the software they (Malaysia) are using and the
challenges in getting this data, so that we can have our data timely and
accurate,” Sheikh Jamaluddin said.
“We can know the impact (of tourism) to the economy and to our GDP
(Gross Domestic Product) so that the (Bruneian) government has a better
grasp on the importance of tourism.”
Apart from data collection, the two countries will also cooperate in
the training of tour guides as the meeting also discussed the
long-standing proposal of promoting Brunei under a single “Borneo
package”, according to the minister. This tourism product will promote
Brunei together with the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak and the
federal territory of Labuan.
“The Borneo package has already been on the table (for some time) but
it’s just a matter of getting it launched. But now there will be an
agreement to have it launched,” he said. However, a date for the
launching was not disclosed.
Malaysia has also extended Brunei an invitation to participate in one
of its biggest activities this year, which takes place sometime in June
or July. Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said these agreements were under the
“umbrella of Brunei and Malaysia’s wide cooperation” in many sectors.
The minister’s Malaysian counterpart, Minister of Tourism Malaysia
Dato Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in an interview with Bruneian and Malaysian
press earlier yesterday, said: “We see ourselves working together with
Brunei… If I had a tourist that came from overseas to Sabah, then I
think it would be common sense to take them to Brunei for your national
parks and canopy walks.”
“We will be talking to your minister and Royal Brunei Airlines about
packaging because Borneo is a very strong product and we have to package
the Borneo experience,” she added.
On the topic of the tourism industry between Malaysia and Brunei, she
said that while tourism in Malaysia had increased by 7.2 per cent last
year from 22 billion to 23.65 billion, the Bruneian market actually
dropped, possibly due to the Influenza A (HINT) outbreak.
“But I believe this is temporary. Brunei will continue to be a major
market for us,” she said.