Brunei ups tourism ante with new waterfront

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The Independent Travel

The Crown Prince of Brunei has officially opened a new marina designed to enhance the Sultanate's tourism offerings.

The Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront Promenade is a new public space intended to boost nightlife in Brunei's capital, a fairly small city which has historically suffered from a lack of evening entertainment.

The B$5.6 million (€3.1 million) project, which Brunei's tourism authorities describe as an "eagerly-anticipated new addition to the capital’s urban landscape," includes several trendy restaurants, art exhibits, souvenir shops and a tourist information kiosk.

In will also feature a heritage trail, to tell visitors about the region and boost interest in the old Royal Customs House, a heritage building now used as an exhibition gallery.

Following a spectacular launch party featuring brightly-decorated boats and fireworks late last month, the area is expected to host formal and informal national events, as well as other cultural performances.

Brunei's tourism authorities said that the Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront Promenade was expected to "bring new life to the downtown area.

Brunei has been steadily increasing its tourism effort in recent years, hosting the 2010 ASEAN Tourism Forum and announcing a major redevelopment of its national airport.

Recently, budget carriers such as Air Asia and Tiger Airways have also started operating flights to Bandar Seri Begawan in recent years, linking Islamic-culture rich Brunei with nearby Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.