| James Kon |
BRUNEI is hoping to attract more Chinese tourists into the country, with the start of the inaugural Yunnan Lucky Air chartered flights from Nanning, on July 15 and Kunming, tomorrow.
Yunnan Lucky Air, a low-cost Chinese carrier, previously operating at 14 international routes, is now expanding its network to Bandar Seri Begawan from Nanning and Kunming in China, which are currently not connected by any other airline.
According to the Tourism Development Department, the direct flight services will operate twice a week for both destinations, using the Boeing 737-800 and Airbus 320.
Most passengers are on packaged tours of four to eight days which consists of Brunei as a single destination, and inclusive of Labuan tours.
The average spending of Chinese tourists per package is approximately $1,100, in a five-star hotel accommodation.
Based on statistics provided by the Tourism Development Department, through studies conducted by the Centre for Strategic Policy Studies (CSPS) earlier this year, tourism revenue generated by the China market in 2016 was estimated at $6,451,178.86, with an average stay of 2.8 days.
In 2016, Brunei received 40,383 Chinese tourists, which is an increase of 18.7 per cent from 2015.
In the first quarter of 2017, Brunei has seen an increase of 25.8 per cent over the same period, in 2016.
According to local tour operators, Chinese tourists tend to pursue good quality tours by staying at good lodgings, eating well and spending much time at attraction sites.
Brunei is an ideal destination for them, being a relatively short distance from China.
The tourists are keen to explore the country’s pristine rainforests and learn more about Brunei customs and culture.
The new chartered flights from Yunnan and Kunming are expected to lend Brunei’s tourism opportunities a further boost, while also contributing to the main goal of 450,000 tourist arrivals by 2020.
With the arrival of Yunnan Lucky Air, the number of destinations connected to Brunei has increased from 16 to 18, with six from five airlines this year.