Freme Travel expects drop in sales
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
FREME Travel Services is expecting a drop in sales this year as consumers are tightening their belt due to the economic downturn facing the country, said its managing director.
“We expect the market to be soft this year as our sale (so far) has dropped at least 12 to 15 per cent (compared) from last year,” said Michael LP Lee on the sidelines of the 13th Freme Travel Fair yesterday.
“People’s spending power this year is not as strong as last year where they (customers) didn’t mind spending more for their travels,” he added, noting that the country’s economic downturn has affected customers’ spending behaviour.
He also stressed that airline travel promotions “are taking a lot of the market away from the company.”
The Freme executive said that he will be surprised if they can do as well as last year’s travel fair, which marked their “best year”, as they earned $1.9 million during the two-day event.
“The crowd number is as good as last year but the buying power (is changing),” he said, adding that the “appetite for travel is still strong” but customers are tightening their budget.
On this year’s travel fair, Lee said he was grateful that the crowd’s response is still encouraging with the number of visitors hitting close to a thousand since it launched on Friday.
“We have been running for 13 years now and I think people have come to trust our brand and name,” he said.
With the current market prospects, it is imperative that the company makes the promotions more attractive this year, said Lee.
“We continuously come up with innovative ideas to attract our customers and stimulate demands,” he said.
For this year’s fair, Lee said the company is offering not only “substantial discounts” for tickets and tours, but also other new exciting features to accompany the annual fair such as free parking space, travel talks on Europe destinations, and the Royal Skies Miles Reward from Freme and Baiduri.
Lee said that two “very popular” booking destinations now for Bruneians are Russia and South Africa, with Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Surabaya and Bangkok also remaining on their list. Held at The Radisson Hotel, the annual two-day travel fair culminated yesterday, which saw the participation of Royal Brunei Airlines and Baiduri Bank.
The Brunei Times