Performing umrah has been popular among Bruneians since the re-opening of air borders, especially in November and December.
Dar El Ehsan Travel Sdn Bhd shared that other popular destinations among Bruneians are Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Seoul.
This shows that more people are confident travelling abroad for the holidays, both for family and individual trips with travel restrictions lifted.
Travel is beginning to resume like pre- COVID-19 times, Dar El Ehsan shared.
Also seeing a positive trend in holiday packages for umrah pilgrimage is Straits Central Agencies (B) Sdn Bhd (SCA).
SCA’s top five popular destinations are Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok and Saigon.
Family travels are popular now as the agency has seen quite a demand for this group.
Most of their passengers are still buying the travel insurance despite the lifting of travel insurance recently as it provides more protection during travel, they said.
As for travel to Malaysia, statistics shared by the Tourism Malaysia Brunei show the country ranked 13th in numbers of Bruneians visiting Malaysia. Some 3,388 Bruneians visited Malaysia in June and the numbers rose in July with 8,630 travellers.
With these numbers of Bruneians travelling to Malaysian states and cities including Miri, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, the demand for the Malaysian ringgit also shot up with most local money changers experiencing a shortage, especially since land borders re-opened.
Bruneians took advantage of the highest rate so far before the new Malaysian government was formed with rates going as high as over 3.30. However, the currency rate began to show its strength following the announcement of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim elected as the new prime minister.
Siti Nurhafizah binti Kassim of PJPM Money Changer in the capital said despite having started the business about one month, they also experienced a demand for the Malaysian ringgit with some customers waiting before they opened.
“Our average exchange when the rate was still high was between BND300 to BND500 with the biggest sum being BND3,000. I think some customers made the exchange to save the currency for their holidays, taking advantage of the very good rate.”
She added that although the currency has gone down to 3.20, the demand is still high, especially for Bruneians crossing the borders for a weekend trip.
Aidah of Haji Ya’akub bin Awang Zainal Money Changer in Gadong also shared they have been experiencing a shortage of Malaysian ringgit since a couple of months back.
When the land border was initially re-opened, the demand was not as high and their stock of Malaysian ringgit was sufficient except on weekends. Now, regardless whether it is on weekdays or weekend, they still run out of stock.
“We usually run out of our Malaysian ringgit before we end the day as some customers change in large sums. There are also times we have customers selling their Malaysian ringgit and we sell it back to customers buying the currency,” said Aidah.
Meanwhile, Kimi of Zamada Money Changer at the Brunei International Airport shared it is the same for them as their stock of Malaysian ringgit always runs out.
“Despite having a huge amount of Malaysian ringgit, it will only last two days minimum. We don’t only cater for air travellers but also land travellers who resort to our money changer after failing to get any from money changers in town.”
He added that although the currency has dropped since the announcement of the new Malaysian Prime Minister, there was still a demand from customers travelling to Malaysia.