Travel, tour agents told to be creative


Bintulu town has much untapped potential, opines Abdul Karim. File Photo

BINTULU: Travel and tour agents in Bintulu must be creative and be able to tap into the big potential of Bintulu as a tourist destination.

In stating this, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said developing tourism involves both the government and private sector.

“Bintulu is one of the areas and towns that we believe could be expanded especially in the tourism industry,” he said during a dialogue with tourism players here yesterday.

He said many know Bintulu because of its industrial development but never notice its tourism potentials which are yet to be fully explored, pointing out this is where tour and travel agents should be creative and be able to identify the products that can be developed.

Abdul Karim cited the sport fishing industry as one of the most promising sectors that can be developed apart from other attractions in the hinterlands like in Sg Asap and Belaga which have many unique and beautiful longhouses.

“Tourism is not just about beaches; many tourists don’t just come for that. They come to see the cultures, to taste the food, see how people live in the longhouse.

“We need to develop this. We don’t want tourists to come – no proper toilet, no proper accommodation; we do not want to see five-star hotel, just proper, clean and hygienic homestays,” he said.

“From there, everything else will come into place once tourists come in, and the food industry will develop, transportation, craft and others will also develop,” he added.

Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) direct flight from Brunei to Bintulu, he said, should be seen as an opportunity to attract not only Bruneians but also tourists from other countries who visit Brunei.

“We are working along with Brunei tourism, hoping that tourists going there will come over. They visit Brunei, have one week holiday there and spend few days in Bintulu and other destinations that got connectivity to Brunei,” he said.

Abdul Karim said RBA also flies to Sibu and Kuching but the Bintulu sector did not do as well as these two sectors.

“Locals players must do their part. Don’t wait for the ministry to do this and that.

“We want to see local event companies coming up with proposals. If you don’t get entertained by BDA (Bintulu Development Authority), you can bring the matter up with the ministry,” he said.

Local players, he added, must be able to think far, and not come up with events just for Bintulu folks but big events that attract outsiders.