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Heritage Tourism at Kampong Ayer


On 17 January 2018, Dr Shafi Noor Islam presented a paper entitled 'Heritage Tourism at Kampong Ayer Water Village for Reaching UNESCO World Heritage Status in Brunei Darussalam on the Island of Borneo' at the International Tourism Conference & Exhibition – Tourism and Heritage: The ASEAN & Borneo Context that was organized jointly by the Institute of Asian Studies at UBD and the Borneo Studies Network.

Kampong Ayer is an area of Brunei’s capital city Bandar Seri Begawan which is located near to Brunei Bay in Brunei Darussalam. It is a unique element of the human made (cultural) landscape and consists of 42 contiguous stilt villages built along the banks of the Sungai Brunei (Brunei River).

Kampong Ayer is culturally and historically the most prestigious, as well as the largest water settlement in Southeast Asian region. It was formerly the capital of the vast Brunei Empire and was located not only along the river but on the river itself. 24 thousand inhabitants are still living over water in Kampong Ayer, practicing the Malay culture and maintaing the Malay heritage.

Kampong Ayer fulfills many of the criteria for UNESCO heritage site selection. The paper considered the following issues:

The objectives of this paper were to understand and analyze the universal cultural values, heritage status and tourism activities at the Kampong Ayer site within the guidelines of the UNESCO World Heritage site selection criteria.