Tourism professionals attend capacity building workshop

|     Danial Norjidi     |

THE ASEAN-Korea Centre Capacity Building Workshop was held at the Radisson Hotel yesterday.

Organised by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) through the Tourism Development Department in cooperation with the ASEAN-Korea Centre, the workshop involved 70 participants comprising tourism professionals from both the public and private sector, including entrepreneurs of tourism attractions, tour guides, travel agencies, hotels as well as educational institutions and lecturers of tourism and hospitality.

The workshop has been organised biennially by the ASEAN-Korea Centre for each ASEAN member country since 2009, and is held with the purpose of contributing to strengthening the capacity of tourism professionals in ASEAN by offering a comprehensive analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of their tourism destination and practical methods to better target and attract Korean tourists.

The workshop began with an opening ceremony, which saw Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the MPRT Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali attend as the guest of honour. Also present were ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Lee Hyuk and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam Yoon Hyun-bong.

The deputy permanent secretary thanked the ASEAN-Korea Centre for its continuous support and contribution in the development of the tourism industry in Brunei Darussalam.

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Lee Hyuk and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam Yoon Hyun-bong in a group photo with the workshop speakers. – PHOTOS: DANIAL NORJIDI
Participants at the workshop

“I am pleased to note that this one-day workshop is aimed to strengthen the capacity of tourism professionals in Brunei Darussalam by enhancing our understanding on Korean tourists, the Korean tourism market and trends, so as to help us better serve and attract Korean tourists.”

He expressed his hope that the workshop would be beneficial to all participants. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from some of the best experts in this field and it is our sincere wish that your work and your business will reap maximum benefit from your participation in this workshop.”

He also noted that Brunei Darussalam will be hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in January 2020. “I suggest we take initiative through the workshop today to learn from the experts so as to prepare ourselves better for the tourists.”

Meanwhile, the ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General said, “Taking this opportunity, I praise the MPRT for their great contribution to the workshop theme and programme covering the field of interest in marketing and promotion for tourism development. We deeply appreciate the ministry’s active inputs in the process of conceptualising the workshop to become a suitable one fulfilling the needs of the tourism and related stakeholders in Brunei.”

“The workshop is a momentous opportunity for all of us to recognise the growing interest in the Brunei tourism sector and to explore the possibility of cooperation for sustainable future growth and strengthened partnership,” he added.

The workshop featured presentations by four tourism experts, beginning with a talk entitled ‘Destination Branding and Marketing’ by Dr Kaye Chon, Dean and Walter Kwok Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The second presentation on ‘The Changing Landscape of Travel: The Rise of FITs (Free Independent Travelers)’ was delivered by Regional Manager of Korea for Klook Travel Lee Zun-ho.

The CEO of Sinar Tour & Travel Park Hyun Kyu delivered the third presentation, which was an analysis of Korean tourists travelling to Brunei and neighbouring countries.

The fourth and final presentation, entitled ‘New Approaches for Ecotourism Development: Developing Ecotourism Cluster’, was delivered by Undersecretary of Tourism Policy & International Affairs Division at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia Mohd Daud Mohd Arif.

The final part of the workshop was an interactive session, which featured a group discussion with speakers on developing tourism products.

According to a press release, the theme for the workshop is promoting Bandar Seri Begawan as an attractive growing travel destination.

The press release notes that the need for this workshop is reflected in the increasing influx of tourists from Korea every year. Korea is one of the main markets for Brunei Darussalam and is one of its top 10 markets for total arrivals by air.

The total number of tourist arrivals from Korea (via air) has increased significantly since 2014-2017. In 2014, there were 2,026 tourist arrivals from Korea, while there were 2,871 in 2015, 3,551 in 2016 and 8,705 in 2017.

It was shared that the increased number of tourist arrivals from Korea is also due to the introduction of three times weekly flights from Incheon, Korea by Royal Brunei Airlines.

Most tourists from Korea come to Brunei to experience the luxury of the resort, enjoy the golf facilities and have a taste of Brunei’s culture, royal heritage and pristine tropical nature, adds the press release.