BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Over the past 10 years, Malaysia received more than one million Bruneian tourists annually, said the director of Tourism Malaysia’s Brunei office.

Hj Ibrahim Seddiqi Talib said the most popular ports of entry for Bruneians were neighbouring Sarawak and Sabah, as well as Labuan, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.

With 1.4 million entries, the sultanate was the fifth largest source of tourist arrivals in Malaysia for 2018. The top four countries were Singapore with 13 million arrivals, Indonesia at 3.2 million, Thailand at 2.9 million, and China at 2.4 million.

From January to May of this year, Tourism Malaysia recorded a total of 521,113 arrivals from Brunei, noting a “significant increase every year”, said Hj Ibrahim.

In 2017, Bruneians spent $1.25 billion (RM3.73 billion) in Malaysia, averaging to $2,962 for each person living in Brunei which has a population of roughly 421,000.

Hj Ibrahim said the high volume of arrivals from Brunei is due to proximity, favourable currency exchange and value for money.

“Bruneians can reach Malaysia easily by land, sea or air and the currency exchange is favourable. This also applies to the top four countries that enter Malaysia every year.”

He added: “The number of Malaysians passing through Brunei every year also shows a significant amount, typically from three to four million.”

The tourism official said they hope to attract more Bruneians to visit other destinations in peninsular Malaysia, such as Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.

On Tuesday, Tourism Malaysia launched the “Kenali Warisan Pantai Timur” packages in Brunei, in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

The tourism body has partnered with six local travel agencies to promote holiday packages to Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, offering activites such as snorkeling, diving, outdoor fishing, cave tours and abseiling.