Princess Cruises is looking to change its calls to Brunei after the destination introduced a harsh penal code that includes laws that make gay sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death, a spokesperson for the cruise line tells Travel Agent.
“Princess Cruises is aware of the news stories circulating about the country of Brunei and the discriminatory views of the country leader towards the LGBTQ community,” the cruise line said in a statement provided to Travel Agent. “Although we have no calls to Brunei in 2019, we are looking at one itinerary in May 2020 and another in January 2021 that currently include a port call to Brunei, with the intention to make changes to those itineraries.
“At Princess Cruises we celebrate diversity and equality and would avoid any location where any guests are not treated with dignity and respect."
According to CNN, the Muslim-majority kingdom became the first East Asian country to introduce Sharia law at the national level in 2014, with the government introducing new legislation and penalties in stages. The latest provisions, which began April 3, include harsh penalties such as the amputation of limbs for stealing and prison time for dressing as a different gender, in addition to the penalties for gay sex and adultery.
As reported by our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, the new laws have had an effect in the travel industry even outside the country, as actor and activist George Clooney has called for a boycott of the luxury Dorchester Collection, which is owned by the government wealth fund of the Sultan of Brunei.
In another report by Luxury Travel Advisor, the government of Brunei is also attempting to launch a new tourism promotion campaign at the same time as the new penal code is being implemented. The country’s state-owned airline, Royal Brunei Airlines, has recruited M&C Saatchi to design a digital marketing campaign to grow tourism to the country in order to shore up an anticipated gap in oil revenues.