Domestic tourism sees promising start

James Kon

Families bond by taking part in activities together such as hiking, going on a river cruise and exploring the Temburong District and other parts of Brunei Darussalam. These activities generate a very positive momentum for domestic tourism, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, who is also Chairman of Royal Brunei Airlines (RB), said.

“Restaurants and gyms were able to re-open within a space of a few months, to 100 per cent capacity, thanks to the cooperation of everyone in the country. But for certain businesses, such as tour agencies, it will take much longer to recover. But they are now starting to organise river cruises, trips to the Temburong District, and so on. Some of these activities are doing well, with bookings all the way to September and October. This is very encouraging, as everyone in the country is eager to do some activity,” he said.

“We are taking this time to have a re-look at how we plan our future ahead,” he said in an interview prior to boarding RB’s Dine & Fly flight last Sunday.

“Airlines around the world have been adversely impacted by the current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Royal Brunei Airlines is no exception. We are seeing airlines globally being impacted, and it would be dishonest if I were to say that RB is not affected. If we look at how COVID-19 has affected tourism, it will take quite a long time for the industry to revitalise.”

“Airlines are obviously an international business, so we need domestic as well as international travellers. Unless the global population can recover from COVID-19, RB, which depends on international travellers, will take a while to recover.

“With activities such as the Dine & Fly flight, we are open to offering the public something different. We can take this opportunity to look at special events, subject to the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) guidelines and the Department of Civil Aviation’s (DCA) approval.”

On the suggestion of converting the RB passenger plane to a cargo plane, the minister said, “We are currently flying to a few destinations such as Melbourne, Hong Kong, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where we are picking up our cargo.

“I think that what we are doing today is sufficient, because our cargo is not in huge volumes as in other countries. For example, if we fly to Hong Kong twice a week, we have already picked up all the cargo for the week. So there is no need for RB to convert its passenger plane to a cargo plane.”