| Azaraimy HH |
THE Tutong District Tourism Promotion and Coordination Body (BPPPDT) is targeting a 25 per cent increase in tourist arrivals within two years after it launches its 10 Tutong Destination packages this year.
This was revealed by Muhammad Amir bin Haji Umarali, Chief Executive Officer of BPPPDT, during an interview with the Bulletin.
Seminars and meetings were held between stakeholders, BPPPDT and the Tourism Development Department (JKP), Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism participated in seminars and meetings last May.
BPPPDT has been active in strengthening the tourism industry in the district by working closely with JKP, including organising several programmes and efforts such as product development, promotion and marketing.
For product development, Muhammad Amir said BPPPDT helped introduce attractive new visit packages and identified destinations that have high competitive potential. BPPPDT also organised several programmes and workshops, seminars, manpower development, services and other tourism-related development efforts.
BPPPDT also facilitated promotion and a more effective marketing system that can reach the public and tourists easily. It also included providing an information system, sales and order through online as well as establishing a tourist information centre for the Tutong District and others.
Muhammad Amir explained that the effort to improve the industry in all aspects is not an easy matter and that it requires skills, patience and broad experiences.
He added the tourism industry needs a long time to reach success and believed the Tutong District is on its way there.
The main challenge now is maintaining the existing industry which includes maintaining and improving service quality, promotion and marketing that require competitive operating costs.
“Support and understanding from all parties are important to bring this tourism industry to a better level,” he said.
Improvement on the number of visitors is still on a moderate level, and increase on the number of tourists can be observed in areas such as visits to the 3MPK Herbal Tea Factory in Kampong Kiudang, Tasbee Meliponiculture Farm in Kampong Sungai Kelugos and Eco Ponies Garden in Kampong Bangnukat in Mukim Lamunin. Several events such as Tutong Earth Hour and ‘Tutongku Ceria’, and the recognition Asean Community Based Tourism Award to Village Consultative Council of Kampong Kiudang had also contributed towards the growth and development of the tourism industry in the Tutong District.
The emergence of new destinations such as Cahaya Gaharu Plantation in Kampong Bukit Panggal and Tanah Tinggi Bukit Tabalu Kampong Kiudang also has the potential to boost the tourist statistics, he added.
Within these several years, the visits and tourism activities had given a positive impact especially in improving the socio-economy of the local residents which can be observed statistically on the number of destination product sales through cottage industry packages.
Tourism activities also provide jobs to local residents such as tour guides. Service providers such as catering services, homestay, and ethnic cultural performers also gained from the tourism activities.
“BPPPDT, with close cooperation from the Tutong District Office, Ministry of Home Affairs, will always try to increase the participation of Mukim and Village Consultative Councils (MPMK) to sell their local product and services in places that are frequently visited as a way to put variety on the visitors itineraries. This can also attract tourists,” he said. “As an organisation that had been mandated to help develop the tourism industry in the district, our hope is for support from all parties so the responsibility can be implemented together. The strength of a tourism industry does not only depend on its beauty and serenity but also on the solidarity and well-being as well as commitment of the society in preserving the heritage, culture and nature – an important element towards strengthening the local tourism industry.”