Tuesday, September 17

Promoting tourism through buses

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LIVE ON AIR: Pahon (centre) flanked by Esther (left), Nur Shaqhima (partly hidden) and radio DJ Rosli at the half an hour Azam Radio Programme.

KUCHING: The tourism authorities in Sabah/Sarawak, Indonesia and Brunei are looking at giving incentives to three bus companies, namely Damri, Bus Asia and SJS for their roles in helping to boost the tourism industry in this region.

Tourism and Heritage Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik said that the three bus companies have been providing direct fleets from Pontianak to Brunei and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and they would be given
some incentives as recognition for their contribution.

“We realise that the bus companies play a very important role in enabling the mobility of people from Indonesia, Sabah/Sarawak and Brunei to visit one another. So as
recognition for their effort, we are looking into
how to give incentives to them.

“Among the areas we are looking at now is how the governments of the three countries can reduce the bureaucracies imposed on the buses when crossing the border. One of them is by displaying the BIMP-EAGA tourism logo on the buses,” said Pahon.

He explained that the incentives for express buses providing direct fleets from Pontianak to Brunei and Kota Kinabalu were part of the proposed Borneo Tour Package initiated by the three countries.

“The Borneo Tour Package is a tourism network to encourage the mobility of people from Indonesia, Sabah/Sarawak and Brunei to visit one another. The proposal had been discussed during our first meeting in Kota Kinabalu last month and on July 4 we are going to have a follow-up meeting in
Brunei.

“At that meeting, we hope to have something concrete especially in providing seamless travel in this region such as reducing the stamping of passports and travel passes because at the moment, people travelling from Pontianak to Kota Kinabalu have their passports stamped 12 times,” he noted.

He said in implementing the incentives for the three bus companies, the governments of the three countries would also be seeking the help of
various enforcement agencies including
the Road Transport Department, police and Immigration Department.

“We are suggesting that these buses will be given certain level of leniency and privileges when crossing border points or at police road blocks,” he said.

Together with him was Federal Tourism Ministry Sarawak Office director Esther Douglas Udam, while radio DJ Rosli Muta and Azam communication officer Nur Shaqhima Hamden conducted the interviews.