Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, anchoring residents to the sultanate this coming holidays, Brunei December Festival (BDF 2020) is back with its fourth iteration as more than 80 events have been lined up, promising new and exciting activities for the public.

During a press conference held at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) Wardi Hj Mohd Ali revealed that there are 60 event organisers participating in the festival this year, culminating in 88 overall events for the month of December.

Five themes or event clusters have been outlined including Culture and Creative Arts with 28 events, the Food Festival along with Sports and Adventure cluster with 22 events each, Recreation and Shopping with 14 events and finally, the Islamic Festival with two events.

(L-R): Acting Director of the Tourism Development Department at MPRT Hj Zulzalani Hj Osman, Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at MPRT Wardi Hj Mohd Ali and Representative of JRA Barakah and Dojo Studio, Izzul Lina Zainal during the Brunei December Festival 2020 press conference. Image: Wardi Wasil

The deputy permanent secretary also added that as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, all organisers and event management companies were advised to ensure that they comply with the guidelines that have been set by the Ministry of Health.

This includes conducting body temperature checks, providing hand sanitisers and social distancing. Apart from that, event organisers were also told to emphasise the level of safety, cleanliness and comfort of visitors when conducting their events.

The public is also reminded to take their respective roles in implementing the preventative measures by not attending events if the present crowd has exceeded the set limit of 350 people.

“We have advised event organisers to stretch the duration of their events and go beyond a few days, to allow members of the public to plan their respective trips (and) limit the volume of people attending the events,” explained Wardi, who is also the Secretary of the Brunei Tourism Board.

Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Wardi Hj Mohd Ali speaking during the Brunei December Festival 2020 press conference. Image: Wardi Wasil

The Brunei December Festival began in 2017 initiated by the Brunei Tourism Board through MPRT in an effort to stimulate the growth of the country’s domestic tourism by providing residents with exciting activities during the month-long school holidays.

The festival is also aimed at opening business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and to cast a spotlight on tourist attractions and accommodations available within Brunei.

Watertastic Weekend & Holiday Camp 2020

To kick off the Brunei December Festival, JRA Barakah and Dojo Studio will be partnering with the Brunei Darussalam Yachting Association (BDYA) to organise two-month-long events aimed at introducing water sports to the greater Bruneian public.

The representative of JRA Barakah and Dojo Studio, Izzul Lina Zainal said that both events will be held at the BDYA Clubhouse at Serasa with the Holiday Camp 2020 taking place every Monday to Wednesday and the Watertastic Weekend taking place every Friday to Sunday.

The Watertastic Weekend will introduce four water sporting activities namely sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddling and kayaking.

Representative of JRA Barakah and Dojo Studio Izzul Lina Zainal speaking during the Brunei December Festival 2020 press conference. Image: Wardi Wasil

According to Lina, the impetus towards introducing more water sports to the public acts not only as a means of entertainment but also, to suss out potential junior athletes in sailing for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2027, where Brunei has been touted as a possible host country.

Members of the public interested in participating in the Watertastic Weekend are advised to contact the organisers beforehand to ensure that the water sporting equipment is already prepared as well as preparing the assigned instructor.

“There are no prerequisites to join the event because we are aware that water sports are still new in Brunei Darussalam, so it is open for beginners and we encourage people to come with their families,” she said.

Acting Director of the Tourism Development Department Hj Zulzalani Hj Osman, assured members of the public that the department has ensured sports and adventure service providers participating in the BDF comply with the safety guidelines that are in line with the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA).

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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