SINGAPORE, 9 April 2019: A global travel firm halted Brunei Airlines ticket sales at the weekend lending support to the #Bruneiboycott campaign while at least four more hotels popped up on the radar owned by Brunei’s investment agency.
STA Travel offices in the UK, US and Australia
tweeted at the weekend: “In protest at recent changes to the law in Brunei
(also applicable on Brunei-registered aircraft and vessels), we’re proud to
announce that STA Travel has stopped selling tickets on Royal Brunei Airlines.
The Financial Times reported Saturday: “Gary Donoghue, the
“We have a number of business and leisure
clients who are LGBQT+,” he said, adding that the ruling was “a slam against”
the values of openness and hospitality in travel.”
Closer to home in the Asia-Pacific and off the radar,
So far they have managed to dodge the
attention of boycott campaigners unlike the nine properties of Dorchester
Collection in the US and Europe.
That changed at the weekend when Australian
media identified Brisbane’s Royal on the Park as being owned by Sejahtera One
(Australia), which is part of the Brunei Investment Agency.
Sejahtera One has just a single shareholder,
Brunei Investment Agency, which is Brunei’s sovereign wealth fund with an
estimated worth of USD40 billion.
Three hotels in Southeast Asia — two in
Singapore and one in Bali — are according to independent reports owned by BIA
through Sejahtera Investments or another subsidiary Borneo Properties.
According to the 2017 Directory of Registered Star H
Royal Plaza on Scotts and the Grand Hyatt Singapore are owned by Sejahtera Investments and Borneo Properties both subsidiaries of the Brunei Investment Agency.
Although Grand Hyatt Singapore is managed by Hyatt, registration details confirm the property’s owning company is Borneo Properties. Other documents accessible on the Internet confirm Borneo Properties is a unit of BIA. (See link at
Sejahtera Investments has its registered
office in the Royal Plaza on Scotts building and the hotel’s management in
response to an email from TTR Weekly confirmed Sajahtera Investments
(Singapore) Pte Limited is the owning company.
It was one of the Sultan’s first investments in the hotel industry, originally branded Holiday Inn when it opened in 1974. Today it is owned and managed directly by Sejahtera Investments.
Both hotels are popular choices for
tourists from Australia and Europe who want to stay close to Orchard Road.
TTR Weekly sent emails to all three hotels seeking further clarification on ownership and whether ownership changes might have been made since 2018 that were not updated in the public information space. Nusa Dua Beach Resort has not responded at this time but Grand Hyatt Singapore issued an email statement this morning
Hyatt’s regional vice president marketing communications, Karen Chung, confirmed in the email to TTR Weekly early this morning (9 April) the hotel is owned by Borneo Properties and managed by Hyatt.
“At Hyatt…We value and respect diversity
and hold a deep respect for individual beliefs, rights and customs of the
people and the communities in which our hotels operate.
“In 2018, Hyatt underscored its
company-wide support for the LGBTI community by signing on to the United
Nations LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business and affirmed our commitment to
support several core standards of conduct to protect LGBTI people around the
globe from discrimination.”
#Bruneiboycott campaign gained considerable
momentum this week when London Transport pulled advertising across all of its
transport options that promoted Brunei and its national airline as an “abode of
Major companies, such as Deutsche Bank, have
removed the Brunei-owned hotels as options for staff travel.
According to the Independent Newspaper, “The
University of Aberdeen and King’s College London have already confirmed they
are reviewing the honorary degrees they have given to the sultan, while 40,000
people have signed a petition calling on the University of Oxford, which gave
him an honorary diploma in 1993, to follow suit.”
The boycott got underway 31 March when
Brunei announced harsh penalties under Syariah law including stoning for
same-sex offences as well as adultery.
Launched by actor George Clooney and supported by Elton John the campaign initially focused on boycotting nine hotels owned by BIA under the Dorchester Collection brand.
The Dorchester, London, UK
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, USA
Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
Le Meurice, Paris, France
Principe di Savoia, Milan, Italy
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles, USA
Coworth Park, Ascot, UK
45 Park Lane, London, UK
Hotel Eden, Rome, Italy
The social media accounts of the nine Brunei-owned hotels have since been deleted or made inaccessible to stem the flood of negative posts.
The backlash against the hotel chain also forced
TripAdvisor to close reviews for the hotels on its platform following a spike
in negative posts.
However, the boycott widened from hotels to
include Royal Brunei Airlines when it became apparent that harsh anti-gay legislation
could apply passengers once they boarded the national airline.
It flies to London and Melbourne and many
of its passengers fly between the two cities with a stop in Brunei to change
Homosexuality has been illegal in Brunei since the country was a British colony, but the new law makes it punishable by death by stoning for gay sex and extramarital affairs.
Measured and rational comments on social
media point out that the campaign is not targeting the country’s right to
introduce Syariah law, but rather the harsh penalties for sex offences such as
stoning, canning and for theft amputation of a foot or hand that are out of
context with commonly accepted human rights in today’s world.
Not a single travel company, hotel booking site, international hotel group or travel association in Asia has come out in support of the #bruneiboycott campaign.
(Reported updated 0800, 9 April with Grand Hyatt Singapore email statement)
EMIS company profiles
Registered Star rated hotels in Bali 2017