THE ANSWER MY friends at the Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, is not blowing in the wind… BUT there is no 360 degree turnaround! 😛
By turnaround, I mean what was the deal to bring in one million visitors in a year many eons ago? How much can a couple of over-the-hill English footballers-turned-golfers in-betweens (neither amateur nor pro) rake in tourist dollars to entice sports tourists to this Abode of Peace? I doubt it if the Empire Hotel and Country Club would even be filled up to 100 percent booking capacity come March 2010. 😛
If the footballers were to play the game of soccer which they’re good at against the local DPMM FC team, say, I can safely assume that 30,000 Bruneian football supporters and foreign spectators from neighbouring ASEAN countries would come to watch at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium! 🙂
A totally different story altogether if The Stapleford Forum were to go all-out to get troubled world champion golfer, Tiger Woods, to come to Brunei Darussalam at least to ‘rehabilitate’ himself, if not to play during the 2nd Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters from March 5 – 7 next year! 😉
No, really, our Tourism guys need to reach out to the masses and get grassroot-level support from the Bruneian population and more importantly from relevant Government agencies and the Private Sector to get the ‘right dose of medicinal concoction to cure our ailing national tourism industry’, in a manner of speaking. It’s not that critical yet to put it in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but the growth of Brunei tourism industry is not that healthy… and that’s a fact. It’s in leaps and bounds in recent years but more could be done to boost its confidence level.
At the top level, our Harvard-educated Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) is already there as the right man for the Best Actor role and his best supporting actor, good old Deputy Minister of IPR has the knack of Public Relations (PR) to get things moving in the right direction. Now they need the Tourism ‘top-honcho’ as the Director to help the Producer (as in the Permanent Secretary at the MIPR) make the Production crew and cast to come up with a Billion dollar sales target of the box-office movie called “Brunei Wonderland” achievable! (Please for god’s sake get rid of the boring and stale Brunei The Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures tagline already!!) 😀 I mean to copycat James Cameron 101, the award-winning director simply called his great classic movie “Titanic” and his latest box-office movie “Avatar” — KISS principle, man, KEEP IT SWEET & SIMPLE! 😛
I think the analogy of directing and producing a highly-successful Hollywood and Bollywood movie would be an approriate approach to make things happen in our local tourism industry. Talking about movies, has the word Brunei ever been mentioned in any of the blockbuster Hollywood movies?
Well, to find out let’s go through this You Tube compilation of how Hollywood Teaches Geography to its global audience (no disputing the fact that the mention of a country’s name or her capital city in a box-office movie is in itself a billion-dollar sale already!):
Hey, just look around us in this Tropical Virgin Rainforest Paradise of Brunei Darussalam and so-called Heart of Borneo (HOB) uniqueness, any Hollywood or Bollywood or whatever Woody movie directors would love to shoot their films on-location in this Abode of Peace, man. So why not ‘sell our country’ to these professional ‘Dream Makers’ and let them make their fantasy movies as one great way to make our national dream to become a No. 1 tourist attraction and destination a reality! 😉
I can ramble on and on no end on this burning issue of tourism being dead and dry in my beloved nation, Negara Brunei Darussalam. In a nutshell, let’s all put our thinking hats together to greatly improve our national image as a top-notch tourism spot on the world map! 🙂
I am no smart-alec but I’ve been there, done that… way back in 1983 when tourism was pretty much in its infancy in this country, I moonlighted as a part-time tour guide for almost 10 years. And I tell you, the potential for Brunei to break the barrier in the global tourism industry was already enormous then. What more now when internet-driven globalization is ripe for our national economy to reap its benefits and a big fortune out of what’s been sown since then.
The time has come for Brunei to arrive at its destination as the country of choice for world travellers! 🙂 SELAMAT DATANG! 😉