The inaugural Brunei December Festival held last year attracted more than 40,000 domestic and international visitors, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Wardi Haji Mohammad Ali, said.

During a press conference yesterday, he disclosed that this year’s edition will be better and will hopefully attract more visitors and generate economic growth by encouraging people to spend locally.

“The reason we are announcing early this year is because we want to create awareness for the Brunei December Festival and give [local businesses and stakeholders time] to collaborate,” the senior MPRT officer said.

So far, there are already 45 events confirmed for the end of year initiative, with more to be added. The line-up includes a “World Nasyeed Competition” which will involve international participants, a “Brunei E-Sport Tournament” as well as a “Seafood Saturday” to celebrate scrumptious seafood dishes cooked by local vendors.

For this year’s Brunei December Festival, 45 events have already been confirmed. Photo: Ubaidillah Masli/ The Scoop

According to a representative from the Brunei Association of Hotels, the sultanate is ready to accommodate tourists over the month-long festival.

“There are more hotels now and some  smaller boutique hotels will open in time for the Brunei December Festival… We are also going to form smart partnerships with the Brunei Tourism Board to ensure that we come up with attractive packages,” he said.

He added that the association has taken note of  several complaints and suggestions it received from visitors last year and are working to address them in a bid to make this year’s edition better.

“Transportation was a big issue among visitors last year… So, we are working to include this into our packages so tourists who stay in hotels can easily go to the Brunei December Festival events.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Travel Agents Brunei has expressed its commitment to promote the initiative locally and internationally, acknowledging its success last year.