BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism cooperation between Brunei and China continues to strengthen, Haji Ali, Brunei's Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, said on Monday.
During the closing ceremony of Brunei-China Year of Tourism 2020 held virtually, the minister said in a pre-recorded remarks that as the two countries embarked into the "new normal," tourism activities were organized via online platforms, including a virtual training program held in November 2020 for Brunei's local tour guides and tourism professionals to further improve their Chinese and communication skills.
He said the country is also grateful to the support extended by the Chinese government for Brunei's national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines to operate in China's Beijing, Changsha, Haikou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanning and Shanghai.
"These connections have further led to increased economic activities and opportunities in the areas of tourism, agriculture, construction, maritime and others," the minister said.
"With over 74,000 tourist arrivals in 2019, China has always been regarded as one of the top three source markets for Brunei. We hope to welcome more tourist arrivals once travel resumes in the near future," the minister added.
Yu Hong, Chinese ambassador to Brunei said at the ceremony that the event would bring a successful conclusion to this year's series of celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries as well as the China-Brunei Year of Tourism 2020.
"Although the pandemic has hindered us from celebrating face-to-face, it cannot stop the kind wishes of both peoples to deepen mutual understanding," the ambassador said.
According to a press release from Brunei's Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, the Brunei-China Year of Tourism 2020, which had been postponed due to the pandemic, provided a unique platform to increase tourism cooperation through people-to-people exchange, enhance bilateral cooperations, capacity building and furthering collaboration and partnership between both countries.
The joint initiative has proven successful in improving the understanding between both countries, encouraging more Bruneian and Chinese people to discover and appreciate each other's cultures and traditions, and stimulating new business and investment opportunities between the two countries," the ministry said. Enditem