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Over 2 million arrivals from Brunei to Miri in 2013
Publication Date : 06-01-2014
For the year ending 2013, neighbouring Miri, Sarawak, received more than 2.6 million arrivals originating from Brunei Darussalam – seven times the number of its population and higher even than Sarawak’s entire population of 2.5 million.
“The number of visitors passing through Sungai Tujoh continues to increase each year. Last year (2013), from January to December, 2,643,599 visitors passed through. Each week, more than 20 tourist buses enter Miri from Brunei Darussalam. During this school holidays, 70 buses have been recorded,” said Lee Kim Shin, Sarawak assistant minister of Communications and Assistant Minister of Sports, at a press conference on New Year’s Day marking Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
The city, nevertheless, is prepared to host even more as it gears up for a sprawling year of tourism-related activities.
Tourism Malaysia data shows successive years of growth in Brunei arrivals to Malaysia since 2009, with the total number of 1,258,070 arrivals in 2012 recording a 1.5 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The period of January to June 2013 showed a 0.9 per cent growth against the same period in 2012.
“Miri is a resort city. For Visit Malaysia Year 2014, we have prepared an extensive programme of activities targeted at tourists… Miri is a shopping centre, with many Bruneians coming on the weekend, in addition to other tourist attractions such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mulu Caves,” he added.
Lee insisted that the city is able to deal with the constant influx of tourists, citing the recently upgraded customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex at Sungai Tujoh with a capacity of 22 entry and exit lanes as proof that the local government continues to ensure tourism needs are well supported.
“In terms of accommodation, the current capacity is sufficient but Miri is constructing a new 300-room hotel due for completion at the end of 2014 and there are others on the way,” he added.
Bruneians are also spending more each year, bringing in MYR3.139 billion (US$1.21 billion) to Malaysia in 2012, based on tourist receipts, with each Bruneian spending an average of MYR2,495 (US$980).
While Labuan remains the top destination with 81.4 per cent visits recorded in the Federal Territory, more than half of Bruneian tourists to Malaysia (54 per cent) visited Sarawak (Malaysia Market Profile 2012).
The Sarawak government has established a tourism taskforce seeking to work with Bruneian authorities on a “twin-city package” between Brunei and Miri to maximise the shared potential of mutual tourism.