Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tourist arrivals to Brunei on the rise

By James Kon

Brunei Tourism is targeting an increase of 20 per cent in tourist arrivals this year compared to last year when an estimated 190,000 to 200,000 tourists visited the country.

Brunei has recorded a jump in foreign tourist arrivals by air thanks to better air linkages and marketing strategies on the majestic allure of the Water Village, Jame' 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, the Istana Nurul Iman, Royal Regalia, the Museums and other tourism hot spots.

According to statistics provided by Brunei Tourism, 111,538 foreign tourists touched down in Brunei for holidays from January until July last year.

Based on arrival statistics, Brunei Tourism has estimated that arrivals for the whole of 2010 would have been between 190,000 and 200,000, representing a growth between 20 and 27 per cent over 2009.

From the arrival numbers, Malaysians topped the list with 27,736 arrivals. The second spot went to China with 12,482 arrivals followed by United Kingdom and Australia at 9,194 and 9,093.

Recently, 11 charter flights brought in 1,345 tourists from Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan who ushered in the Year of the Rabbit in the Abode of Peace.

The Lunar New Year charter flights combined with the recent lifting of visa requirements for Hong Kong passport holders and the resumption of Royal Brunei Airlines direct flights to Shanghai offering more frequent and direct connections to the Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures, are expected to contribute a rise in Brunei Tourism's target of tourist arrivals by air.

Brunei receives an average of 22,000 tourists a year by air from Hong Kong and China and also an additional 2,000 tourists from Taiwan, majority of them coming for a relaxing holiday.

In addition to tourist arrivals by air, more than 20,000 people have come as cruise ship passengers visiting Brunei on day trips.

Arrivals by land and sea (Serasa) are not included, as Brunei Tourism doesn't have the percentage of land and sea arrivals that qualify as tourists, day trippers or border crossers.

With the encouraging figures, Brunei Tourism is targeting a 20 per cent increase over 2010 arrivals for year 2011.

Initiatives to further boost Brunei's tourism are currently in the pipeline and one of the efforts that has already borne fruit is the appointment of Brunei Tourism first marketing representative office in China called Longway recently.

From 2007 to 2009, Brunei received a total of 232,616 tourists by air. Tourists from China made up the most of tourist arrivals from the Far East at 62,769 in three years.

In total, tourists from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan added up to a total of 97,287 arrivals from 2007 to 2009.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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