Thailand will be looking to top the number of tourists from Brunei for 2014 after experiencing a major increase in the previous year.
In a telephone interview with The Brunei Times on Tuesday (19 August 2014), Thai Ambassador Apichart Phetcharatana said that according to figures from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the country recorded 14,000 Bruneian visitors in 2013. This is 40 per cent higher than 2012.
“The aim for 2014 is 16,000 Bruneian visitors. To achieve this figure, we are working closely with TAT to run more programmes that will hopefully attract more Bruneians to the country,” he said.
Mr Apichart said the rise in the number of Bruneian tourists was “quite impressive” but said that the embassy would do more to improve the figure.
He said most of the Bruneians have travelled enough to know that Thailand is famous for its beach resorts and shopping malls.
He credited the increase to different factors such as high-level medical treatment, favourable exchange rates, variety of food and the fact the Thailand is near the Sultanate.
Mr Apichart said Bruneians like to buy big name brands and are willing to spend more to follow the latest fashion trends.
“Thailand’s malls don’t only carry global brand names but also local brands so that tourists have more options,” he said, adding that Thai-made products are of good quality.
The ambassador also highlighted that trade figures between both countries have reached US$300 million in the last few years.
He said that a bulk of the figure comes from Thai exports comprising rice, fruits and sugar. He added that although the number had stayed somewhat stagnant, the embassy is in close cooperation with trade officials to improve the figure.