Brunei's entry to UN World Tourism Organisation
By Azlan Othman

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has admitted three new members during the 17th General Assembly (held November 23-29) in the Fortified City of Cartagena, bringing up the number of member states to 153.

Brunei Darussalam, Tajikistan and Montenegro have just joined, making big strides in growing tourism in proportion to the massive world tourism growth.

Globally, tourism has grown to 846 million international arrivals in 2006. It is expected to grow to 1.6 billion in 2020.

E-Turbo news reported that Brunei is moving ahead with the travel wheel fast gaining momentum in Asia. Aside from its pristine nature of tropical rainforest covering 78 per cent of land area, along with Brunei's 600-year royal heritage, tourism complements the stability and peace that the country enjoys.

The characteristics favour the tourism industry, especially in the drive to strengthen the eco-tourism sector. Brunei is at the centre of the fastest growing region in the world, Asia Pacific, which allows for sustainable elements for the kind of tourism experience demanded by Bruneis discerning tourists, said Dato Paduka Hj Hamdillah, Deputy Minister of Industry and Primary Resources.

Further, the country, in its arrival at the UNWTO, embraced responsibility towards current world issues such as climate change. There are few activities in Brunei, apart from agriculture, that are dependent on the weather as tourism.

"As an economy driven by oil and gas, Brunei remains passionate in our common battle against global warming. On reducing greenhouse gases, we recommend a sustainable carbon sink for the residual carbon dioxide that is produced as we strive to reduce through new technology and reduce, reuse and recycle methodology," said Dato Paduka Hj Hamdillah.

As a result of a more serious commitment, Brunei will contribute 60 per cent of its land area in the Heart of Borneo Project - a joint trilateral initiative spearheaded by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

"The project aims to conserve 220,000 sq km. of our tropical rainforest with the National Implementation Plan to be launched next month. HOB's friendly donors will hopefully solicit funds to contribute partly to financing less than 30 projects in Brunei," he added. - Borneo Bulletin (5th Dec 2007)