Published on : Monday, October 30, 2017
The scenes of divers plunging into the sea to examine the wreckage of historic sunken ships and images of families riding on a flying fox over lush rain forest feature prominently in new Brunei tourism videos to lure more international visitors, as the sultanate seeks to grow the sector against the backdrop of low global oil prices.
The government of Brunei hopes to double air arrivals from 218,000 in 2015 to 451,000 by 2020. It is keen to raise the sector’s revenue contribution of B$178.6 million (S$178.6 million), or 1.1 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) last year, to 3 per cent in “incremental” stages.
The official data shows that gas and oil mining accounted for 41.7 per cent of the country’s GDP last year, followed by manufacturing and government services. In a move towards a more diversified and competitive economy, the government has begun to make policy reforms in non-energy sectors, including tourism, halal business, and the technology and creative industry.
The ministry of Brunei has since late last year begun working with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors to roll out “emerging products”.
These include tours to fairly unexplored destinations such as Sungai Basong, a recreation park for picnickers and joggers, and activities like diving to explore shipwrecks and oil rigs, bird watching and kite-flying.