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Brunei's Tourism To Get Help From Malaysia

Malaysia to assist Brunei in tourism data collection

Jan 25, 2010

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 profiles.

"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 said.

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.

Malaysia to assist Brunei in tourism data collection
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