BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Chinese visitors outnumbered Malaysians for the first time as the top source of tourists to Brunei in the first quarter of 2018, data from the Department of Tourism Development showed today.
The department reported a total of 18,530 Chinese tourists visiting the sultanate in the first quarter of this year with visitors coming from Malaysia recorded at 15,208 during the same period.
The rise of Chinese visitors to Brunei was attributed to the increase of air connectivity through chartered flights from the mainland to the sultanate, the department said in its quarterly tourism statistics report.
The department also recorded a spike in Chinese tourist arrivals during this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations as well as international sports events including the Richard Mille Brunei Championship – a major golfing event initiated by Asian Development Tour.
The report said that Chinese tourists accounted for 26.2 per cent of the total number of visitors to the sultanate, contributing to 4.1 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) increase for the total number of international arrivals by air.
In the first quarter of 2018, the total number of international tourists arrivals at the Brunei International Airport was recorded at 70,298 compared to the 67,956 during the same period last year.
The increase in arrivals was due to high travel demand from the Far East markets such as China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, which saw a persistent growth at 40.5 per cent, the report added.
Malaysia previously topped the list with the highest number of visitors to Brunei for two years straight since 2016, before being overtaken by China recently.
Meanwhile, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore remained in the top five countries visiting Brunei, accounting for 7,413, 5,139 and 3,217 visitors respectively.
These top five countries contributed to the majority portion of international tourist arrivals into Brunei at 70 per cent of the total market share.
Moreover, ASEAN remained the largest source of visitors for Brunei for Q1 2018, accounting for 47 per cent share of the overall total number of visitors, followed by the Far East at 33.3 per cent, long-haul markets Europe, Middle East and America at 9.2 per cent, and Australia and New Zealand at 4 per cent.
Out of the top performing countries, Hong Kong has significantly improved and grew more than double to reach 98.1 per cent (y-o-y) from 307 arrivals in Q1 2017 to 733 arrivals over the same period this year.
The Department also recorded 975,065 visitors from immigration control posts via land (961,613) and cruise ship arrivals (13,452).