| James Kon |
IN JANUARY and February this year, more than 1,500 South Korean tourists had travelled to Brunei Darussalam via weekly chartered flights on Thursdays and Sundays, the result of a joint collaboration between Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) and Sinar Tours.
The number of visitors from Korea is also set to increase, following favourable response to a ‘Brunei 4-5 Days Package’ product which was featured for the first time on a Korean home shopping channel. The package attracted a record high of 3,500 calls for inquiries and nearly 2,000 bookings to visit Brunei.
In an interview with the Borneo Bulletin, James Park, the President of Sinar Tour Sdn Bhd, said, “Sinar Tour and The Empire Hotel & Country Club have teamed with RB and Tourism Brunei to appoint the Korean marketing company, ‘Tams’, to promote the country as a favourite destination in Korea.
“The Brunei Darussalam tour package was aired for a whole day on a home shopping channel and repeated every hour.
“Favourite tourist destinations such as Bangkok or Sabah are already receiving an average of 2,000 calls, but we managed to surpass that by 3,500 calls in an hour. We were surprised when the bookings reached up to nearly 2,000 people, which set a new record for the channel.”
“From January to mid-February, Korean visitors came to Brunei mainly for golfing experience due to the winter season in Korea,” he explained.
“However, the arrivals this month are mostly for tours. About 95 per cent of passengers arriving yesterday on the chartered flight are going on a tour of Temburong District. They will also do a City Tour and a spot of shopping, since many of the branded items in Brunei are much cheaper compared to those in Korea.”
“Several Korean tourists have already returned to Brunei three times after their initial visit, while others have extended their four-day stay to a week. The feedback they usually give is ‘Perfect’,” he added.
“They like to relax in the luxury surroundings of The Empire Hotel & Country Club, while enjoying the warm hospitality and excellent services.”
Park is hoping to receive at least 1,000 Korean visitors every month from March. The tour company’s plan is for more Koreans to visit and shop in Brunei, to help boost the local economy.
Park also disclosed that representatives from the South Korean public broadcaster, Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), will be in Brunei to film the ‘Battle Trip’ television show on March 16.
Four Korean celebrities are expected to join them – comedians Lee Hwijae and Kim Sook, along with singers Seong Sikyung and San E.