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A market for same-day tours

S Puvaneswary


WHO Sabah-based Borneo Trails Tours & Travel is a decade-old inbound tour company helmed by general manager KL Tan, who is also vice president - inbound of the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents.  


Borneo Trails’ tour packages are reflective of Tan’s personal interests in nature, conservation and responsible tourism. In 2011, he expanded the business to include the Borneo Nature Lodge in Sukau. The environmentally-friendly lodge is located along the Kinabatangan River, where visitors can go on nature walks in the surrounding forest and spot endangered mammals such as the orangutan and proboscis monkey.


WHAT Tan’s most recent venture was the development of a mobile-friendly portal, WonderfulBorneo.com, to sell Borneo Trails tour packages online.


The unique feature of this portal is the same-day tours tab, which allows same-day departures upon confirmation of bookings. Same-day tours include city tours of various combinations focusing on shopping, iconic attractions, nightlife and cuisine, in addition to cultural tours and visits to nearby islands.


Tan said: “We are able to conduct same-day tours because we have our own guides and vehicles. With the new website, tourists will be able to choose from a wide variety of tours, make payment online using their credit cards and get instant confirmation.”


WHY In recent years, the industry veteran noticed a growing preference among travellers to search for travel destinations and tips on their smartphones. At the same time, Tan also noticed an increasing number of requests for same-day tours.


He said: “These are mainly FIT and families from Australia, Singapore and the UK who have already booked their hotels but don’t have any tour arrangements. Realising that this is a new and promising segment, I decided to create a mobile-friendly website to cater to what I believe will become (a) mainstream (preference) in a few years’ time.”


TARGET There are currently around 20 tour packages available for same-day bookings. Tan plans to progressively expand the number of products and offerings that can be purchased and instantly confirmed online.