Sunday, May 07, 2006

Labuan still favoured by Brunei visitors

By Achong Tanjong

Malaysia registered 16.4 million visitors to the country during the period from January to December 2005. This is an overall increase of 4.6 % compared to the same period the previous year.

Truly Malaysia (The Essential Travel Newsletter for Friends of Malaysia) reported that in the month of December alone there has been an overwhelming increase of 8.8 % in tourist arrivals.

This in effect added up to 1,417,236 visitors in 2005 against 1,302,967 visitors for the same period last year.

The top tourism markets in December were Singapore (9,634,506 visitors), Thailand (1,900,839 visitors), Indonesia (962,957 visitors), Brunei Darussalam (486,344 visitors), China (352,089 visitors) and Japan (340,027).

Meanwhile, Malaysia is targetting a figure of 20.1 million tourist arrivals for 2007 during the Visit Malaysia Year 2007, which coincides with Malaysia's 50th year of independence.

As part of the 9th Malaysia Plan, the focus is on niche markets such as Eco-tourism, health tourism, homestay program and Mice-meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.

The Ministry of Tourism has started an incentive scheme called "Malaysia Welcomes the World", a preparatory program for VMY 2007 to upgrade the hospitality skills of Malaysians.

Meanwhile, according the static from Immigration Department of Malaysia (KL), Brunei Darussalam visitors (17,489) are only second in the list of foreign visitors to Labuan after Philippines visitors (18,662) during the period of January to December 2005.

However, in the same period of 2004 and 2003 Bruneian visitors to the Island recorded 20,300 and 21,327 respectively.

Overall numbers of Asean visitors to the island from January to December 2005 were 45,233 compared to 59,580 visitors in the same period of 2004.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

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