| Azlan Othman |
BRUNEI Darussalam is fast emerging as a major tourism and hospitality destination that could soon overtake several developed markets, according to a study conducted by event management company QnA International.
The survey conducted on the global MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events), business and luxury travel industry revealed insights on industry trends and challenges, emerging global destinations and emerging trends and challenges within the industry.
Participants of the survey were asked to identify emerging destinations that could overtake developed markets as a tourism and hospitality destination. They identified Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Siberia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Monaco, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Russia, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia as upcoming MICE hot spots.
Over 300 experts responsible for organising MICE, business and luxury travel took the survey to gauge popular, emerging global destinations and emerging trends and challenges within the industry.
The MICE market is growing rapidly in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, as it remains the top-choice for business, incentives and meetings and luxury travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to the QnA survey.
The results of the survey indicate some new destinations of choice for business and luxury travel. For instance, France was indicated as the most preferred business travel destination in Europe with Greece too making an appearance while Morocco and Australia were listed as destinations of choice for luxury travel.
According to the study, top destinations for business travel include European countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Asian countries such as China, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan along with Australia, UAE and US. Top destinations for MICE include Australia, Europe specifically Eastern Europe, Central Asian countries such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia as well as the South Asian subcontinent and Far East.
Mediterranean countries such as Montenegro, Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and countries from the Middle East and Africa like the UAE, Kuwait, Kenya and Tanzania are also featured as top destinations for MICE.
Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Fiji, Bora Bora, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Croatia, Morocco, Hawaii and other European destinations have been marked as top luxury travel destinations from the GCC.
In May last year, Brunei Darussalam was named the 13th best destination across the globe for Muslim travellers in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries.
The Sultanate scored full marks (100) in safety aspect and prayer space access and gained 90 marks in dining options in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) for 2017, which covered 130 destinations globally.
According to the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism tourist arrivals to Brunei has increased by 10 per cent towards the end of 2017, compared to 0.3 per cent in 2016.
According to statistics provided by the Tourism Development Department, the total number international tourists arrived in the Sultanate through the Brunei International Airport (BIA) in the second quarter of 2017 reached 65,747 compared to 52,292 tourists in the same period last year, recording a 25.7 per cent year-on-year growth.
The increase is mainly attributed to the consistently high travel demand from the main market areas since the first quarter of 2017 coupled with increased air connectivity due to chartered flights from the Far East market, improved travel facilitation and a modest global economic recovery despite tough regional competition from neighbouring countries.