Tourism in Brunei Darussalam : content and context
The purpose of this research was to analyse the content and context of tourism stakeholder management in Negara Brunei Darussalam and to investigate stakeholder views on tourism management, planning and development. The author attempted to identify the web of stakeholders as perceived by the main key groups of players in the tourism industry in the months leading up to the sultanate's first ever 'Visit Brunei Year 2001'. In addition, she attempted to investigate the underlying causes of ineffective tourism management in Negara Brunei Darussalam, which operates under a strict Malay Muslim Monarchy ('Melayu Islam Beraja' or'MIB') system of governance and national philosophy. Many hold the view that developing the tourism industry in Negara Brunei Darussalam is a necessary stepping-stone towards diversification from its dependence on oil and gas. However, very little effort has been made to educate the general community on its benefits and disadvantages. In addition, only a very select group of people are directly involved in its planning and development leading to conflict in the community. Little has been said about real community support of tourism development and on the impact it may have on its stakeholders. The present study has attempted to do this. Problems in tourism management, planning and development are expected to arise because of Negara Brunei Darussalam's inexperience in this field, lack of coordination and planning between government and private sectors; and, perhaps due to conflict between its MIB philosophy and the perceived negative nature of the tourism industry. Research was conducted in several stages from November 1999 to February 2001. Data collection from the fieldwork was elicited through questionnaires administered by four trained interviewers in all four districts in Negara Brunei Darussalam and through in-depth interviews with selected tourism stakeholders by the author. The author observed that key players of tourism were relatively unaware of the concept of community participation in tourism development and planning, as well as the identity of a wider range of tourism stakeholders. The community at large does support tourism development and planning and expectations for accrual of tourism revenue and benefits are high. Many in the private sector have voiced the view that the government should do more to give this industry a boost. Similarly, the governmental body believes that a pro-active private sector is needed for sustainability of this industry. An alternative model to western stakeholder management is proposed that is applicable to this small Muslim sultanate.