Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Brunei Town

First post-pandemic cruise ship a welcome sight, passengers want to visit Brunei again

James Kon

The Sultanate welcomed the return of cruise tourism yesterday with the arrival of Oceania Nautica vessel at the Cruise Ship Centre, Muara Port carrying some 800 passengers including its crew. Oceania Nautica vessel departed from Cape Town, South Africa, as its point of origin and arrived at Muara Port welcomed with the sound of hadrah as the passengers disembarked.

Following a half-day tour in the country, passengers, Terry and Louisette said, “We will visit Brunei again if we have the opportunity.”

The German and French tourists visited the city centre, Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex area and met a number of Bruneians.

They shared that the people, including the taxi drivers, are polite and that Brunei is one of the cleanest countries they have visited.

According to the Tourism Development Department under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Brunei is expecting the Seventh Seas Mariner tomorrow.

Tourists arrive at the Muara Port after disembarking from the Oceania Nautica vessel yesterday
ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show cruise ship passengers at the tourist information counter; and disembarking the ship. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

Six cruise ships are expected to stopover at Muara Port as one of their port of calls in 2023.

The cruise tourism sector had come to a halt since the implementation of the COVID-19 travel restrictions in March 2020, with the last cruise ship making its port of call in 2020 carrying 1,526 passengers. The Genting Dream was the last cruise ship that made its maiden call to Brunei in July 2019.

Based on Tourism Development Department statistics, between 2016 and 2020, there were over 46,000 cruise ship passengers, with 61 cruise calls to the Sultanate. The number of cruise ship passengers expected in Brunei this year is 10,127.

The Tourism Development Department is working with the stakeholders in providing improved facilities at the Cruise Ship Centre and transportation networks to support the development of the cruise ship sector.

The arrival of tourists through cruise ships is expected to contribute to the revival of the country’s tourism industry.