BRUNEI-MUARA – With the second edition of the Brunei December Festival on the horizon, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is determined to revamp the sultanate’s image from being a quiet state to an exciting one, said its minister.

In an interview during the launching of the Brunei December Festival 2018 Awareness Campaign, YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong said that last year’s festival performed “beyond expectations”.

“We recorded 98,000 visitors to festival activities last year comprising both locals and foreigners, and hopefully we can surpass that number this year,” he said.

With the intention of making the month of December the premier month for fun activities in the sultanate, YB Dato Ali hoped the festival iwould help shift the mindsets of locals to spend their December holidays in the country instead.

“Normally December is a quiet month with locals preferring to spend their holidays abroad. Hopefully with the upcoming events, it will encourage more Bruneians to stay and spend their money domestically.”

More than 60 events have been planned for this year’s festival, with some events starting as early as November.

“As you can see the number of event organisers this year have increased from the 40 events that were organised last year. We hope this trend keeps going, so the number of events keeps increasing by the year.”

One of the events that  is sure to be popular this year will take place on December 2,  the Jalinan Kelupis Terpanjang (Longest Braided Rice) which aims to measure about 700 feet or 202 meters.

With the more interest in the festival, there will be more opportunities in the future to create unique events which have the potential to boost the number of tourists coming in, the minister said.

These events include programming competitions as well as drone and radio-controlled power boat races, said YB Dato Ali.

“Participants of these competitions are majority locals, but as time goes by, they could attract more international participants especially from the ASEAN region.”

The minister explained that the success of last year’s festival stemmed from multiple factors, including the efforts of multiple partners and agencies.

“This [Brunei December Festival] may be one of our tourism products, but its success is dependent on a number of different things such as airline connectivity and visa arrangements for our foreign tourists.

“For tourism, one of the most important aspects is connectivity and we are thankful that in recent times, the sultanate is growing its connectivity with other major cities in the world, particularly ones in Far East Asia”.

Royal Brunei Airlines (RB), Brunei’s sole national flag carrier has been expanding their China footprint, with routes currently servicing four Chinese destinations; Shanghai, Nanning, Hangzhou and Hong Kong.

Currently, China has become the sultanate’s number one source for visitors arriving by air in the first quarter of 2018. Overall, the number of Chinese visitors have doubled in the past three years, reaching 52, 000 in 2017 .

To check out all the events scheduled for the Brunei December Festival, click on the images below to enlarge: