A joint tourism year initiative was officially launched here on Friday evening by high-level officials of China and Brunei to mark the start of a one-year event in tourism cooperation.
Zhang Xu, China's vice minister of culture and tourism, Yu Hong, Chinese ambassador to Brunei, Princess Hajah Masna, Brunei's Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Haji Ali, Brunei's Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism and other senior government officials attended the event to mark the opening of the China-Brunei Year of Tourism 2020.
Zhang Xu and Haji Ali respectively read congratulatory letters exchanged by leaders of the two countries over the opening of the China-Brunei Year of Tourism 2020.
The two sides will host such activities as exhibitions, forums, training sessions and world cultural heritage presentations throughout the year.
The China-Brunei Year of Tourism 2020 aims to provide a platform to strengthen tourism cooperation through people-to-people and cultural exchanges, enhance bilateral cooperation, capacity building and furthering collaboration and partnership between both countries. The year-long event is also an opportunity to build wider business and trade connections in other areas beyond tourism.
In his speech, Zhang Xu said that China and Brunei will implement the important consensus reached by leaders of both sides, jointly run the China-Brunei Year of Tourism 2020, implement the Asia Tourism Promotion Plan, create a new pattern of tourism cooperation, and promote friendship between the two countries.
"With today's event, and with the two countries' strong network initiatives, coupled with Brunei-China Year of Tourism 2020, both countries could further enhance cooperation to increase two-way tourist visits and promote greater people-to-people exchanges between our two countries", Haji Ali said.
According to statistics from Brunei government, China has become one of the top source markets for tourist arrivals for Brunei with a recorded number of 43,000 tourist arrivals (July 2019). In 2018, Brunei saw an increase of 21.1 percent with 65,563 tourist arrivals from China in comparison to 2017 with Chinese tourist arrivals of 54,125.
With the launch of the Brunei-China Year of Tourism 2020, together with direct and increased air connectivity between the two countries, such as the newly launched route of Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) to Beijing, it is hoped that tourist traffic and economic growth between the two countries will be boosted.