Brunei wants increased Korean investment in tourism, other key sectors

|     Danial Norjidi     |

TOURISM, ICT, manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries are among the sectors in which Brunei Darussalam would like to see more investment from Korea.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong shared this in a speech at the Brunei-Korea Joint Economic Cooperation Seminar at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa yesterday.

He highlighted that the tourism industry is a significant driver of economic and social development.

“It stimulates economic growth by generating income, employment, investment and exports,” he said. “It also generates valuable spin-off effects, including the preservation of cultural heritage, and bringing about improvements in infrastructure and local community facilities.”

The minister added that in addition to enhancing tourism products and identifying new tourism investment opportunities, Brunei is progressing in terms of enhancing connectivity to draw more tourists to the country.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam Yoon Hyun-bong in a group photo with other officials at the seminar. – PHOTOS: PG FAIROL RMF
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong speaks at the event

“For example, with the 145 per cent increase in Korean arrivals we received in 2017 compared to 2016, Royal Brunei Airlines has introduced three times weekly flights to Incheon, Korea. This will help further increase two-way tourism arrivals into Brunei and Korea,” he said.

According to statistics gathered from January to August this year, the minister shared there have been 5,444 Korean tourists to Brunei, giving a boost to the tourism sector – specifically golf tourism at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

“This was due to the promotion and hard work of one of the travel agents, Sinar Tour Sdn Bhd,” Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali said.

“Therefore I am hopeful that with more connectivity established and with the collaboration between the airlines, travel agents and hotels, we will see a further increase in Koreans visiting Brunei and staying longer in the country to enjoy the attractive packages that Brunei has to offer.”

The minister added that another area in which Brunei’s tourism sector has seen progress is at the Brunei International Airport, where a duty-free shop was set up by SBC Sdn Bhd in May this year.

“This provides the departing passengers at the airport a better shopping experience, offering them more choices of luxury goods and other items,” he said.

The minister noted that Korea is one of Brunei’s top trading partners, with transactions concentrated mainly in oil and gas exports from Brunei to Korea, adding that Brunei would like to welcome more prospective Korean investors in the areas of tourism, ICT, manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries.

Referring to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018, the minister highlighted that Brunei has been named as the most improved economy in the world in terms of the Ease of Doing Business for three consecutive years.

“Significant improvements in these rankings reflect the serious commitment of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Government towards creating a pro-business environment (in Brunei) that facilitates further diversification of the country’s economy,” he said.

“The combination of Brunei’s strategic location, decent infrastructure, political stability, highly educated workforce, preserved forests, low pollution, and business environment reforms, enables Brunei to thrive as a competitive investment destination in the ASEAN region.

“Brunei’s immense potential deserves more attention from Korean investors. Thus it is timely to materialise the economic partnership that lies ahead. Today’s seminar is pertinent to these initiatives.”