| Aziz Idris |
IN AN initiative to boost job opportunities and the local tourism sector, Freme Travel has officially opened an “Adventure Course” at Freme’s refurbished Rainforest Lodge located in Batang Duri in Temburong District.
Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, officiated the launch.
The Rainforest Lodge had seen a surge in tourist numbers from China, Hong Kong and Japan with 95 per cent of them giving positive feedback, according to Chairman of Freme Travel, Pg Dato Sharifuddin bin Pg Metali.
Many tourists also expressed interest to extend their stay in Brunei to enjoy the rich culture and various nature-based activities in the district, he added.
The refurbished Rainforest Lodge, which comes with a new terrace dining area and kitchen, can accommodate 40 people in wooden bunkers and another 15 in large tents.
Pg Dato Sharifuddin pointed out that there was still room for expansion to meet any increase in demand when the proposed Temburong bridge is completed in about three years’ time.
“By then, visitors will have easier road access to the lodge apart from the current water access by boat that visitors may prefer for a more complete Temburong experience,” he added.
According to him, these initiatives had boosted job opportunities for locals.
The lodge now employs more than 10 full-time workers (local Temburong residents) including guides, boatmen and a local caterer famous for cooking Temburong’s signature dish, local lobsters.
The new Adventure Course, which was built after more than a year of planning and construction, is catered for tourists as well as special corporate team building and professional development events.
The course has a number of features including a 15-metre flying fox across the Batang Duri River, a high rope bridge course, a hanging bridge, a three-tier canopy platform ideal for bird watching, a mini climbing wall, walking trails for both night and day, as well as a tower giving a great view of the rainforest.
Shortly after the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Adventure Course and refurbished lodged, the minister toured the vicinity and viewed a flying fox demonstration before climbing up the canopy platform.
Also present were YB Haji Sulaiman bin Haji Ahad, a Legislative Council member; Haji Abd Hamid bin Dato Paduka Haji Abdullah, Temburong District Officer; and Michael Lee, Managing Director of Freme Travel Services.
Pg Dato Sharifuddin, meanwhile, reassured the public that safety and environmental issues would always be high on the agenda.
“We will ensure that the environment and the welfare of our visitors are not compromised. As such, we will ensure that our operations do not have any adverse impact on the environment,” he said, adding that there is a crisis management programme in place to handle any unforeseen emergency and contingency incidents.
A donation of $20,000 to orphans in Temburong District was also handed over to the Temburong District Officer by Pg Dato Shariffuddin.