M’sia sees lowest December tourist arrivals from Brunei

National 2 minutes, 7 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MALAYSIA recorded the lowest December tourist arrivals from Brunei in six years despite the exchange rate reaching record highs late last year.

Figures released by Tourism Malaysia earlier this week show that Bruneians visited Malaysia 128,325 times in December 2015, the lowest total recorded for the month of December since 2009 when Bruneians visited Malaysia 127,370 at the year’s end.

The figures released also showed that the final tally of total tourist arrivals from Brunei for 2015 dropped 6.6 per cent from the previous year and also represents the lowest tally recorded since 2010.

Bruneians visited Malaysia 1.133 million times for the whole of 2015, which is a decrease from the previous year’s total of 1.213 million arrivals.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Director of Tourism Malaysia in Brunei Zurina Abd Samad said that the figures were expected owing to the low oil prices that are still impacting the economies of both countries.

“As I have mentioned before, the spending power of Bruneians to consume and also for Malaysians to promote were affected by the oil prices’ impact on the economies which led to the fewer tourist arrivals in Malaysia,” she said.

“Although there were scores of Bruneians who travelled to Miri to shop last December, they do not count towards the tourist arrival figures unless they stay the night which is why we see the drop in Bruneian tourists in Malaysia,” she said.

Zurina predicted that the number of tourist arrivals will continue to fall in tandem with the economy in the immediate future.

“Personally, I am predicting that the number of tourist arrivals for the first two months of this year, when they are finally released, will see the falling trend to continue if the state of the world economy stays as it is currently,” she said.

“So unless the oil prices, which are still the biggest contributing factor to the local economy, rebound back to pre-2015 levels, I do not think Bruneian tourist arrivals will increase any time soon,” she said.

She said that while Tourism Malaysia’s marketing efforts will not divert from its main focus of promoting Malaysia as a shopping destination to Bruneians, medical tourism and wedding market will also be given focus.

“We know that there is high demand for wedding couture among Bruneians as well as all the goods and services that goes with it such as door gifts or photography,” she said.

“So we are hoping that Bruneians will buy their wedding needs in Malaysia as well at places such as the popular Jakel mall outlets,” she said.

The Brunei Times