Thailand sees rise in Bruneian tourists
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THAILAND has seen increasing number of Bruneian visitors into the country over the years, according to an officer at the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, its marketing manager for Malaysia and Brunei Richard Lim Chew Lee said that there is an increase of about 49 per cent of Bruneian tourists entering Thailand this year compared to in 2014.
“From the data that we have, for the first seven months this year, there are over 7,000 inbound Bruneian travelers visiting Thailand,” he said on the sidelines of the 12th Abacus Brunei Travel Fair yesterday.
He further said that on average, Bruneians travelled to Thailand twice in a year due to various reasons such as shopping, food and for medical treatment.
“There are people who would come back for the third or fourth time and with the good deals and promotions of air fares during this fair which are less than $400 for a return flight, people will travel…”, said Lim.
He also noted that medical tourism is gaining popularity among Bruneians when flying to Thailand.
“People would go for medical checkup, detoxification or sometimes stress management because of the affordable prices,” he continued.
Although there is a niche market for medical tourism among Bruneians in Thailand, there is a gradual increase in the number of clients for that sector.
“People who have undergone (the medical treatment) would have shared their experience with others on how fast and good the service there. The word of mouth is a testimonial by itself…”, he continued.
Asked whether tourists declined following the bombing incident in Bangkok last August, he said: “The situation (in Bangkok) turned normal for about two weeks after the bombing… The fear and worries of the people about the bomb gradually subside.”
Lim said that tourists still want to travel to Bangkok despite of what happened and that tighter security controls are in place since the tragedy.
“It was just a one off situation which can happen to any other countries and now, we have put a lot of security measures into place… a police posts was built nearby the place to monitor the surroundings as well as tourists safety,” he said. The availability of halal eateries and restaurants in Thailand also contribute to the good response of Muslim tourists.
“We have our halal certification body and the Islamic Council of Thailand is strict about it… so food is easy access there,” he concluded.
The Brunei Times