| James Kon |
PEHIN Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, yesterday launched the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Trade Expo at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas. The expo showcases the diversity and products offered by the EAGA region.
The event – co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Tourism, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) as the official carrier – carries the theme ‘Experience Diversity’, which aims to highlight the food, products and lifestyles within the BIMP-EAGA sub-region.
The exhibition – which gathers representatives from the tourism, airlines, travel agencies, hotels, handicraft and souvenir industries from Brunei Darussalam (host), Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines – aims to provide a platform for ensuring connectivity in the BIMP-EAGA sub-region towards greater economic prosperity in the region and beyond, especially for the tourism industry and its related services.
Also touring the expo, which comprises of more than 70 exhibition booths from the BIMP-EAGA region, were Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, the Minister of Communications, and Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II, as well as officials from BIMP-EAGA region.
According to data from the BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Centre, domestic tourists continue to be the backbone of the EAGA (East Asia Growth Area) tourism industry, accounting for 70 per cent of the total arrivals in 2013. Between 2009 and 2013, foreign tourist arrivals have been growing at an annual average rate of seven per cent, while domestic tourist arrivals have been on the decline at an average of 13 per cent annually.
The value of total merchandise exports in 2013 was US$119 billion while imports were at US$47 billion.
Members of the public can visit the expo today from 2pm to 8pm, while on Friday, November 21, the expo will be open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 8pm. On Saturday, November 22, the expo will open from 9am to 4pm.