Brunei has recorded 258,955 tourist arrivals in 2017 – its highest number since 2011 – and an 18% increase from 2016, owing to a strong demand from Chinese tourists, who made up 39.2% of all arrivals.
The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) in releasing 2017’s statistics yesterday, attributed to the growth to increased air connectivity by Royal Brunei Airlines, who expanded its route to South Korea, and Chinese low-cost carrier Lucky Air who opened up flights from Nanning and Kunming for the first time.
Visitor entries were also eased; China and Taiwan nationals were allowed multiple entry visas and visa-on-arrivals, and now citizens from 55 different countries can visit Brunei between 14 to 90 days without a visa.
Last year’s 258,955 arrivals through the Brunei International Airport comfortably surpass 2011’s 242,061, with over four million entries into Brunei through land and sea. 2017’s number also represents the highest officially recorded by the authorities, who began collecting the data in the early 2000s.
Last year’s number are also an increase of 40,146 from 2016’s 218,809 arrivals, with 8,257 of the increased arrivals from Chinese nationals (pictured below), who continue to be Brunei – and the world’s – largest outbound market.
MPRT said the festivities of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 50 years Accession to the Throne in October also drew tourists. MPRT finished 2017 with the Brunei December Festival, a collaboration with the private sector which saw 40 recreational events held across the country to draw tourists and encourage more Bruneians to spend in the Sultanate.
China’s majority also means that citizens of the Far East remain the most lucrative for Brunei, making up 70,193 of all arrivals, up from 52,373 in 2016. Flights from Malaysia also continue to provide the largest inflow of tourists into Brunei, representing 23.2% of all arrivals, with China a close second at 20.2%.
44% of all visitors to Brunei came for leisure and recreation, with the average stay at hotels at 2.2 days. The hotel industry’s overall occupancy rate was at 41.2% – a marginal increase of 1.9% from 2016 – with 87 different establishments including hotels, resorts, serviced apartments, guest houses, and homestays. There were also 65 registered travel agents with MPRT, an increase of five from 2016.
For 2018, MPRT is targeting 278,000 tourists, who are expected to bring in $140 million in tourism revenue.
Picture and information for this story are courtesy of MPRT