THE government plans to keep the cost of tourism promotion and marketing at a minimum by making use of information technology (IT), said the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) yesterday.
Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong said that the budget of $250,000 for tourism promotion in the upcoming fiscal year will be “sufficient” because the ministry plans to use IT tools such as website and mobile applications to promote and market tourism.
“Yes, it is sufficient…in terms of promoting tourism, we are not going to travel to Europe, Middle East, America or Russia…(instead), we aim to promote tourism sector by making use of IT,” he told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the ongoing 12th Legislative Council meeting.
The ministry will develop a system which feeds tourists with information on local attractions and places of interest upon arrival, said YB Dato Paduka Hj Ali.
“Tourists will receive information on tourist attractions available in Brunei including places in Temburong,” he said.
YB Dato Hj Ali said general information of local inbound operators will also be made available through the system and this would then help tourists find local tour guides.
Visitors will also receive useful information on popular tourist destinations on their mobile phones via short messaging services (SMS) and internet as soon as they arrive at the Brunei International Airport, the minister said.
YB Dato Hj Ali said the ministry has consulted local mobile phone operators including DST Sdn Bhd and Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd to help with the initiative.
The minister also said that a budget of $150,000 will be reserved for the development of tourism products.
“Our focus is also to strengthen our local products so that visitors are confident. I want visitors to enjoy the places they visit and the products they buy in Brunei so that they will return back again in the future,” he said.
During the meeting, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin asked whether the proposed overall budget of $2 million to promote tourism sector was enough.
The minister corrected that the proposed budget for tourism promotion and marketing was not $2 million, but only around $250,000.
The minister last Saturday proposed a budget of $57.14 million for tourism for the 2016/2017 fiscal year.
The minister said out of the $57.14 million, a total of $33.468 million is allocated for wage payment of MPRT staff and personnel, $17.299 million is for “recurring expenses” and $6.426 million is allocated for “special expenses”.
YB Dato Hj Ali added a majority of the $6.426 million allocated were for two projects – padi farming and tourism, although he did not provide further break down of the figure.
The Brunei Times