Tourism cooperation between Brunei and China continues to grow despite the ongoing pandemic, embarking into the new normal of utilising online platforms with the launching of the Online Chinese Language Tour Guide Training Course.

The training programme represents one of the activities under the Brunei-China Year of Tourism 2020, that is organised in collaboration between the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) and the China Youth Travel Service (CYTS).

Permanent Secretary at MPRT Hjh Tutiaty Hj Abd Wahab (C), Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at MPRT Wardi Hj Mohammad Ali (6th L) and Chinese Ambassador to Brunei Yu Hong (5th R) in a group photo with tourist guides. Image: Courtesy of MPRT

Permanent Secretary at MPRT Hjh Tutiaty Hj Abd Wahab in her opening remarks said that the virtual training programme serves as a platform for local tour guides and tourism professionals to further improve their Chinese language and communication skills.

“This also can enhance their skills to give the best impression to tourists from China (when bringing them) to places of interest in Brunei,” she said.

“Our tour guides and tourism professionals play important roles in connecting tourists to immerse into Bruneian culture, heritage and nature as well as experience local Bruneian delicacies, amongst others,” she added.

Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Hjh Tutiaty Hj Abd Wahab delivering her opening remarks during the launch of the Online Chinese Language Tour Guide Training Course. Image: Courtesy of MPRT.

The permanent secretary then acknowledged the impact the global COVID-19 situation has had on the worldwide tourism industry, including its effect on tourism related capacity-building programs. 

However, with the current availability of online platforms, these activities are now possible again.

“Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of inbound Chinese tourists have plummeted (and) Brunei’s travel agencies and hotel operators have borne the brunt,” said the Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong.

Chinese Ambassador to Brunei Yu Hong delivering her speech during the launch of the Online Chinese Language Tour Guide Training Course. Image: Courtesy of MPRT.

However, the foreign envoy remained positive that “Chinese tourists will visit Brunei again,” when conditions permit, all the while commending the MPRT for their efforts in helping the local travel and tourism industry.

“Some of the China-Brunei Year of Tourism activities are to be postponed as agreed by both sides,” she continued.

“However, the Chinese Tour Guide Training Courses, starting today, is among the efforts to explore more possibilities for cultural exchanges under the new normal,” she added.

One of the licensed tour guides sharing her experiences from the previous Chinese Language Tour Guide Training. Image: Courtesy of MPRT.

The ambassador went on to note that next year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brunei which is the same year the sultanate will assume chairmanship of ASEAN.

“New and greater opportunities abound for both China-Brunei and China-ASEAN relations,” she concluded.

The Online Chinese Language Tour Guide Training Course is a ten-day workshop which will be held from November 2 – 13 and will see a total of 24 participants comprising of licensed tour guides and representatives from local travel agents.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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