Brunei urged to improve public transport to boost tourism

Brunei urged to improve public transport to boost tourism

There is still a need to develop transport infrastructure if Brunei wants to grow its tourism industry, said a tourism researcher yesterday.

Professor Victor T King, a Distinguished Fellow at Universiti Brunei Darussalam's Institute of Asian Studies who did tourism research in Southeast Asia highlighted the lack of infrastructure as a constraint for the tourism industry.

"If you look at feedback from TripAdvisor, for example, they are generally very positive about tourism in Brunei, but the constraint is transport," he said.

"There isn't a regular bus service which can get you from one tourist site to another and taxis are relatively expensive.

"To get around in Brunei, you have to hire a car, unless you are part of a package which brings you around in a coach," he said.

He noted that Brunei's public transport system may be difficult for the independent traveller to use.

"For the independent traveler whom needs to use public transport, it is problematic for them," he said.

In developing infrastructure, King said that there is a balance between economic development and preserving the asset for tourism.

"In certain parts of Southeast Asia, the infrastructure is very good and can cope with increased tourism numbers," he said.

However, in other parts of ASEAN, he said that there are cases with fragile sites in danger of being overdeveloped and swamped with tourism.

"If you are looking at an eco-site, Komodo in Indonesia is suffering from all kinds of pressure because you are getting increased numbers(of tourists)."

He also cited a subterranean river site in Palawan as an example of overdeveloping due to mass tourism.

"It's a balance, and it depends on what kind of sites you are looking at," he said.

He said that Brunei, with its rather small tourism industry, could cope very well with more arrivals because it is relatively small at the moment.

"Natural sites, such as Kuala Belalong, Tasek Merimbun, these have potential which can be developed further," he said.

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