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Thursday January 14, 2010

Miri remains as top draw for Bruneians

MIRI: Cheap sales and colourful festivities were the two main draws for more than one million visitors from oil-rich Brunei to Sarawak last year.

According to Borneo Bulletin, a major English daily of the Brunei sultanate, Brunei immigration authorities recorded 1,061,357 exits from their immigration and customs checkpoints into Sarawak throughout 2009.

The biggest number was registered in December, especially during the period between Christmas and Jan 1.

The newspaper, quoting authorities like Tourism Malaysia, said that Bruneians and expatriates working in Brunei continued to find Sarawak and Sabah attractive for sightseeing and shopping.

“A total of 1,061,357 crossings from Brunei to Malaysia were recorded in 2009, with 127,370 visits to Miri last month alone.

“The reasons were the state’s year-end holiday events, festive sales and back-to-school promotions at shopping complexes in Miri.

“Although the figures show a drop of 2.2% in the number of visits, Sarawak and Sabah remain very attractive for those in Brunei.

“In 2008, there were 1,085,115 entries into Sarawak,” said the newspaper in a recent article.

It also reported that on Dec 30, more than 500 Bruneians were stranded at the Brunei-Sarawak border near Limbang town due to severe traffic congestion at the checkpoint.

The surge of people at the border had resulted in the authorities being unable to clear a long line of vehicles as the Immigration and Customs offices closed at 10pm.

Brunei is fifth on the list of countries that were top tourism contributors to the Malaysian economy in 2009.