Brunei, officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo, with the remainder of the island belonging to Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population was 401,890 in July 2011
On January 4, 1979, Brunei and the United Kingdom signed a new treaty of friendship and cooperation. On January 1, 1984, Brunei Darussalam became a fully independent state.
Rich in oil and natural gas, the people of this Muslim sultanate enjoy high subsidies and generous health care. Brunei has an absolute monarchy and a hereditary nobility, with the sultan awarding titles to commoners. Malay is the official language, but English is widely understood and used in business.
The Brunei economy is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas, which account for over 50 percent of GDP, about 80 percent of government tax revenues and 90 percent of exports.
The Government used its substantial oil and gas revenues and investment income to provide a wide range of services and benefits to citizens, including free schooling and medical care, subsidized housing, and jobs. During the year, the non-oil and gas component of the economy suffered its fifth year of stagnation.
Under the Sultan’s benevolent leadership, Brunei has remained a socially, politically and economically stable country in the region. Moreover, his popularity as a paragon of justice buttresses the State’s ability to elicit a high degree of compliance from its citizens, desirous of amicable resolutions of differences and conflicts.
The Government generally respected its citizens' human rights in several areas; however, its record was poor in other areas, particularly with regard to civil liberties. Citizens did not have the right to change the Government, and they generally avoided political activity of any kind because of the official atmosphere of disapproval concerning such activities. Citizens did not exercise freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, or freedom of association.
In a State where the news media is under constant vigilance, globalization has begun to erode some of the inherited values of compliance especially among the younger generations, faced with diminishing prospects of employment, and a gradual erosion of the once generous welfare system. Mass media, especially access to the Internet has caused a loosening of state control of information, and has resulted raising the expectations of the younger generations, thus demanding more and better facilities, more accountability, and the right to voice their concerns.
The report saw three areas of concern: policy rules and regulations (Brunei was ranked 120th out of 139 economies), prioritisation for travel and tourism (127th), and environmental sustainability Brunei (139th).
This is based on the World Economic Forum (WEF) report for travel and tourism competitiveness where Brunei was ranked 67th out of 139 different economies. The director of the tourism board in Brunei has said that they are working with "marketing agents" in China and Austraila to increase the numbers in tourism.
In 1959, a new constitution was written declaring Brunei a self-governing state, while its foreign affairs, security, and defense remained the responsibility of the United Kingdom.
A small country, Brunei is located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Consisting of just two jungle enclaves—inhabited by Malays, Chinese, and indigenous tribes—Brunei won its independence in 1984 after almost a century as a British protectorate.
The WEF report cited the 2010 statistics for international tourist arrivals to Brunei, which was recorded at about 214,000 people.