Brunei to host ATF, launch Brunei-China tourism in 2020

Azlan Othman

The Tourism Development Department at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism will be hosting the 39th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2020, under the theme of ‘ASEAN – Together Towards a Next Generation of Travel’.

The ATF is made up of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meetings, ASEAN National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) Meetings and other associated meetings that will take place from January 12 to 16, 2020; and TRAVEX, a three-day event from January 14-16, 2020.

TRAVEX is a platform for the selling and buying of regional and individual tourism products of each ASEAN member state. This is a specialised event, which aims to provide convenient business-matching opportunities for the suppliers of tourism products and services in ASEAN, and for international buyers to meet and foster business relationships.

The ATF 2020 is expected to receive about 800 delegates comprising ministers and senior officials, exhibitors, buyers and media.

The event will feature around 263 ASEAN exhibitors and 144 international buyers, with coverage by 68 domestic and international media.

The official meeting venue will be at The Empire Brunei, while the TRAVEX venue will be at the BRIDEX Centre  in Jerudong.

In preparation for the ATF 2020, the Tourism Development Department, with the collaboration of SEAMEO Voctech, Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) and the Brunei Association of Hotels held a two-month customer service training programme for restaurant operators, which started in August 2019.

The Tourism Development Department also held awareness and briefing sessions with the members of the Association of Travel Agents and Brunei Association of Hotels. The briefings touched on the importance of quality service and hospitality to all guests, as well as safety and security.

The ATF was established in 1981 as a cooperative regional effort to promote ASEAN as a single tourist destination. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member states of ASEAN, and each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries in alphabetical order.

The next ATF will be hosted by Cambodia in 2021.

Meanwhile, the launching of the Brunei Darussalam-People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 will be held on January 17, 2020, at Jerudong International School Arts Centre.

The launching of the initiative will mark the start of a one-year event in tourism-cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and the People’s Republic of China.

The event aims to provide a platform to strengthen tourism cooperation through people-to-people and cultural exchanges, enhance bilateral cooperation and capacity-building, in addition to furthering collaboration and partnership between both countries.

The event is also an opportunity to build wider business and trade connections in other areas beyond tourism.

A business-matching session between travel agencies from the two countries will also be held on January 17, 2020, to build relationships between travel agents and tour operators to boost arrivals from China to Brunei Darussalam.

China is one of the top source markets for tourist arrivals for Brunei with a recorded number of 43,000 tourist arrivals in July 2019.

In 2018, Brunei Darussalam saw an increase of 21.1 per cent with 65, 563 tourist arrivals from China in comparison to 54,125 in 2017.

With the launch of the Brunei Darussalam-People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020, together with direct and increased air connectivity between the two countries, such as the new route of Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) to Beijing, it is hoped that this initiative will boost tourist traffic and economic growth between both countries.