Travel agencies in Brunei see sales slump

PHOTO: Brunei Times/ANN

Travel agencies have noticed a slump in sales the past few weeks, attributing the trend to the convenience of purchasing tickets online as well as more people spending money on Hari Raya preparations instead.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, General Manager of Century Travel Centre Sdn Bhd Foo C P said business during this fasting month has been slow not only in comparison to other months but also to previous years' Ramadhan sales.

"Every year, the first two weeks of puasa are always a bit slow but things pick up after that. Now we're already in the third week of Ramadhan and it's still very quiet," he said.

Foo attributes the decline in sales to the upcoming Raya season. Majority of the public would be spending a lot of money on home decor, food items and Raya clothes, he said.

He also noted that most people are now buying air tickets online not only because of its convenience but also because of the better fares that are offered to customers.

"In previous years, we would get quite a few clients who travel out of the country to buy their things for Raya but maybe this year they're shopping in the country or most likely doing it online," he said.

On purchasing tickets online, the general manager added, "Sometimes travel fairs are held where airlines work in collaboration with travel agents to give better deals to the public. But most of the time, customers can get these rates if they purchase online anyway," he said.

A representative from Pan Bright Travel Service, who declined to be named, shared the same sentiment saying that they have received hardly any reservations for tickets and tours during this fasting month.

"Business has been very slow for us these past few weeks, which could be due to people preferring to stay in the country during Ramadhan to spend time with their families and also to get ready for Hari Raya," she said.

She added that they are hoping for business to resume after the festive season as school holidays are in September.

"School holidays are usually peak season for us as people take family and tour packages. So hopefully we will get more customers after Hari Raya," she said.