BRUNEI: a lovely GREEN and CLEAN COUNTRY with tropical animals and rainforests – great to work in and relax

BRUNEI: a lovely GREEN and CLEAN COUNTRY with tropical animals and rainforests – great to work in and relax

BRUNEI: a lovely GREEN and CLEAN COUNTRY with tropical animals and rainforests – great to work in and relax
January 22
06:48 2020

By Zuzana Adamson

Very impressive green and clean nature (making up about 70% of the country), focus on ecological tourism, friendly and warm local people, safety and security, a lot of schools, His Majesty The Sultan, and his Crown Prince, who is a big celebrity here – this is BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, a small but wealthy country nestled on the north–west coast of the island of Borneo neighbouring Malaysia. The official langue is Malay but people speak English – which is also the language of business here. Only 442,400 people live in Brunei’s 5,765 square kilometres and the country is one of the 10 members of ASEAN – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

In terms of tourism and statistics, in 2019, BRUNEI saw an increase in the number of tourist arrivals (by air) of 16%, in comparison with the previous year. Between January and August 213,007 people arrived, up from 183,637 in the same period in 2018.

Between January and August 2019, the largest number of international visitors came from Malaysia (50,111), followed by China (49,533) and Indonesia (20,445).


The ATF (ASEAN Tourism Forum) – TRAVEX was organised in Brunei Darussalam in 2020, with the motto “ASEAN – Together Towards a Next Generation of Travel”. ATF 2020 marks the 39th anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981. The event was held between January 12–16 and the chosen venue was the BRIDEX International Conference Centre in the capital city – Bandar Seri Bagawan.



Our media MICE CEE, together with other international media delegates, were provided with 5–star accommodation in the centrally located Rizqun International Hotel.



Very comfortable with spacious rooms, this hotel offers everything a business traveller needs. For MICE events, it features a wide variety of different sized function rooms. They include the Songket Ballroom, which is divisible into three separate soundproof sections and can accommodate up to 1,500 delegates (theatre style). It is the biggest pillarless ballroom in Brunei Darussalam and it comes with the state–of–the–art audio–visual technology. It can host banquets for up to 1,000 people.


Social functions honoured by the Sultan’s family

The 5–star Empire Brunei, another of the city’s TOP properties, is located by the sea, and its Indera Samudra Grand Hall was the venue for the opening ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT). All the delegates were excited by the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al–Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office.




In his welcome speech, The Honourable Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, underlined that the ASEAN tourism industry has seen significant growth in the last decade and continues to be an important contributor to socio–economic development in the region. ASEAN welcomed over 133 million international arrivals in 2019, an increase of 7% from 2018.

As per previous years, there were many lunches and dinners organised by ASEAN countries and the event was rich with cultural programmes: Brunei Tourism, Malaysia, and the Philippines hosted lunches while Cambodia’s tourism ministry (ATF TRAVEX 2021 hosts), organised a reception and dinner. The closing reception was held in the 5–star Empire Brunei property and immediately followed the ASEAN Tourism awards presentation.

The opening of the China–Brunei Year of Tourism 2020 was a grand event, organised in Jerudong International School’s Arts Centre, on January 17, 2020. Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, the Ambassador at Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, launched the year, and there were welcoming speeches by Brunei’s Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, and Mr Zhang Xu, China’s Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism. Wonderful cultural performances in the large and representative venue contributed to the incredible atmosphere.


ATF – TRAVEX in 2020

The organisers of this important event that connects the ASEAN countries and TTG Events Asia with Brunei Darussalam’s Tourism Development Department successfully provided a large platform for exchanges, business development, and networking for politicians, tourism professionals, and MICE organisers from all around the world.

The ASEAN Tourism Ministers Press Conference took place in the 5–star Empire Brunei and brought together ministers from ASEAN countries with China, Japan, and Korea’s tourism ministers also in attendance.



This year the exhibition welcomed 263 exhibiting delegates, 150 exhibiting booth companies and properties across the 10 ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, plus India.

There were 161 international buyers from 43 countries including those from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia. The largest number of buyers from outside Brunei Darussalam came from China PR (11%), the Philippines (7%), Singapore (6%) and India (6%), followed by those from Malaysia and Cambodia. The buyers from CEE came from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Russia. The number of media delegates was 109, including our B2B MICE CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE.





Brunei is a country that nature lovers will find many reasons to visit. A new governmental strategy promoting tourism to Brunei focuses on ecotourism that can be very attractive for people from Europe that search for peace, clean nature, and a healthy approach to the environment.



Our group of international media delegates were taken on a full day trip to explore the natural wonders, a plethora of exotic fauna and flora that in Europe you cannot see outside of a zoo, such as leopards, sun bears, snakes, and colourful butterflies. The Ulu Temburong National Park is close to the capital city, so you can, with the help of local agencies, create an attractive programme for your MICE delegates with a mix of work and leisure.

The heart of the park is accessible only by boat and while passing by dense mangrove islands we could see animals including many kinds of birds, proboscis monkeys, Müeller’s Bornean gibbon, and even crocodiles while sitting onboard. Then, you walk into the centre of the tropical forest and just 1,000 steps up you will arrive at an iron construction that consists of five towers and a bridge connecting them 42 metres high – the Canopy Walkway. If you can make the climb and do not suffer from vertigo, then you can see the whole rainforest and a wide area from a “bird’s eye view” and enjoy an unforgettable experience.



With the owner, we visited the pleasant Sumbiling Eco Village – an eco–lodge that offers amazing nature–based activities, including the popular trend of “glamping”. Home to the local Iban community, the aim is to achieve sustainability by preserving the environment and make the most of existing resources. The resort wants to promote the harmonious culture of Borneo’s indigenous tribes.


A major development is the first luxury eco–resort in Temburong that extends over a two–hectare site in Kg Perdayan. Costing about BND 4.5 million (US$3.34 million) in total, the eco–resort project includes 30 accommodation units that may be classified according to their sizes, a fine–dining restaurant, a swimming pool and spa as well as facilities for recreational activities including jets and zip–lines.


Opportunity to clean your body and soul

Do you want to stop smoking and drinking? Come to Brunei because you will be successful here. As nobody smokes and drinks, and as you can’t buy alcohol or tobacco in shops, in a few days you will forget the existence of cigarettes and bottles of nice French wine and change your lifestyle. And it’s easier when you don’t see it around you. My husband almost went as far as writing His Majesty a thank you letter, because his wife (me, the victim) quit smoking “by default” in Brunei. She is still alive, by the way.

Some businesspeople from Europe are not used to having fun without a glass of whisky, or a nice wine – it is ingrained in European culture. So, there is a small exception for you. When you travel to Brunei, you can bring two bottles of alcoholic beverages and 12 cans of beer (one can x 330 ml). Don’t ask me how many delegates of ATF 2020 took advantage of this allowance!


WHAT to SEE in Bandar Seri Bagawan


The very green, safe, and peaceful capital of Brunei has several wonders that should not escape your attention. The two important mosques – Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – are “must–sees”.



I would also highly recommend going to the Royal Regalia Museum where you can see many details and learn about the interesting history of Brunei, the Sultan’s family history, and Brunei’s relations with other countries and global organisations.


This small and rich country is amazing, and the ATF TRAVEX 2020 international delegates were sad to leave. But they can always come back, with their families and spend some time with leisure as their “modus operandi”.

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