The pandemic-induced travel bans hit the global travel & tourism industry in the foot in the last two years. The worldwide inbound and outbound tourism businesses shrank by 80%. The grim scenario contracted livelihood and revenue streams of most tourism economies, including those of smaller countries like Brunei that rely substantially on international tourism. However, of late, with the lifting of travel restrictions, Brunei is recording a gradual rise in international footfall.
Major hotels and tour operators in Brunei report a growing stream of booking requests since August. Some hotels have already declared themselves fully booked till January 2023. As per booking records, the inflating traffic is a generous mix of domestic and international tourists, with the majority inflow from countries like Malaysia, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. A tour operator hopes, “With the easing of mandatory travel measures like Covid test and vaccination status and opening of land and sea borders, we expect a further increase of inbound tourists.”
The Sultanate of Brunei is leaving no stone unturned in revamping its tourism initiative to help the sector grow resilient and sustainable. Efforts to strengthen community-based tourism (CBT) operations are visible. CBT service providers have already posted a 50% spike in demand for bookings, especially with the December winter holidays approaching. Brunei’s Ministry of Tourism has repackaged its tourism products and infrastructure with prompt ground support to tourists, training of tourist guides and agents, and the development of new places of amusement and recreation. Royal Brunei Airlines is adding to its flight frequency for easy and hassle-free tourist movement.
Looping in major hospitality and tourism service providers, the Brunei Sultanate is organizing carnivals and shows to strengthen the travel sentiments among local and global tourists. With the return of tourists and business opportunities, the health of the tourism sector is seeing better days.