Cultural performances during the opening ceremony of Brunei Darussalam – People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 held at the JIS Arts Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Brunei and China recently launched a joint tourism initiative aimed to stimulate the industry further by having more people-to-people interactions, cultural exchanges and bilateral collaborations.

Dubbed the Brunei-China Year of Tourism 2020, the year-long drive was made official in a launching ceremony held at the Jerudong International School (JIS) Arts Centre, with Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna attending as the guest of honour.

Additionally, the joint initiative also aimed to further strengthen trade ties and relations between the two countries and see what kind of cooperation both countries can have beyond tourism.

At the launch, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Ali Apong read out a congratulatory message from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Ali bin Apong delivering his remarks during the opening ceremony of Brunei Darussalam – People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 held at the JIS Arts Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

In the message, the monarch said he was pleased to celebrate the Year of Tourism as it represented a new opportunity for both countries to further deepen longstanding, warm and close friendship based on the strong foundation of mutual trust, respect and understanding.

His Majesty also said that tourism is an important sector for Brunei’s economic diversification efforts.  China, he said, is a valuable tourist market for the sultanate which is further enhanced by the increase in connectivity with various cities across the country.

“I am happy that both our officials have made significant preparations to ensure this year-long event a great success.  This will strengthen economic growth, enhance our people-to-people exchanges and bring mutual benefits to our countries,”

“Brunei Darussalam will be proud to share its diverse cultural and traditional heritage as well as its pristine rainforests rich in flora and fauna that visitors will experience whilst in Brunei Darussalam,” His Majesty said in the message.

China’s Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Zhang Xu also conveyed a congratulatory message from President Xi Jinping, where he said:  “During the past two years, His Majesty and I successfully exchanged visits, and agreed to upgrade China-Brunei relations to a strategic cooperative partnership.”

Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism of People`s Republic of China, Zhang Xu delivering his remarks during the opening ceremony of Brunei Darussalam – People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 held at the JIS Arts Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The two countries, he said, had also pledged to be good partners featuring mutual trust in politics, mutual benefit in the economy, mutual understanding in people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and mutual assistance in multilateral affairs.

“For friends, what is precious is mutual understanding. Brunei has always been an important link along the ancient maritime Silk Road. It is thanks to this maritime Silk Road that our ancestors started exchanges over 2,000 years ago (in China’s Western Han Dynasty), and our peoples have got to know each other and developed a close bond of friendship,” the President said in his message.

“Many beautiful stories of our exchanges are still being told today. I hope our two sides can take Brunei China Year of Tourism as a great opportunity to increase people-to-people and cultural exchanges as a sincere and good friend and a trusted partner for common development.  I wish the 2020 Brunei China Year of Tourism a grand success,” he added.

Besides the launching, the ceremony also saw cultural performances staged by artists from both countries.  China’s performance includes a traditional Chinese musical show ‘Moonlit Night on the Spring River’ and a cultural dance by the Hui race, while Bruneians replied this by showcasing its Joget and Jipin Tar onstage.

Cultural performances during the opening ceremony of Brunei Darussalam – People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 held at the JIS Arts Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
Cultural performances during the opening ceremony of Brunei Darussalam – People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 held at the JIS Arts Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Also present was Chief of Adat Istiadat Negara Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador at Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief of Adat Istiadat, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Ali bin Apong, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Paduka Haji Abidin, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism of People`s Republic of China, Zhang Xu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei, Yu Hong and her spouse during the opening ceremony of Brunei Darussalam – People’s Republic of China Year of Tourism 2020 held at the JIS Arts Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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