More direct connectivity between BSB and Indonesian cities in the pipeline

|     Lyna Mohamad     |

TALKS on the possibility of more direct connectivity from Bandar Seri Begawan to other cities in Indonesia are in progress to boost tourism for both countries, said Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko in an interview with the Bulletin yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Table Top Conference hosted by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, Dr Sujatmiko added that the connectivity being discussed involves air, land and sea.

“We are not only trying to get more connectivity through air, but by sea as well. Since most of our current products to Brunei Darussalam are done through Malaysia and Singapore, we need direct sea connectivity to Brunei’s Muara Port,” he said.

Dr Sujatmiko also highlighted the need to improve on the land connectivity issues from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kalimantan to boost profits for bus operators working between the two countries.

He disclosed that he had discussions with the Indonesian Tourism Minister in Jakarta and the Garuda Air CEO on the possibility of direct flights from Bandar Seri Begawan to Lombok, Balikpapan and Medan.

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko addresses the gathering

On the Table Top Conference, he said, “It’s a very important event for operators related to the tourism industry, as they work together to boost tourism for both countries.

“The number of Bruneians visiting Indonesia has seen a decline from 23,000 in 2017 to 17,000 last year, which I believe is partly due to natural disasters in Indonesia, especially in Lombok and Maluku. So more strategies need to be done by our travel operators to recover the loss of Bruneian tourists to Indonesia.”

He also suggested that Brunei travel operators collaborate with their Indonesian counterparts in working out ways to attract more foreign visitors to the Sultanate.

“We need the involvement of everybody in the industry to help each other boost their tourism activities in their countries, while on our government’s side there is a lot of homework to do aside from improving connectivity,” said Dr Sujatmiko, adding that the quality of destinations and the improvement of pricing in air travel and packages must also be considered.