The Brunei December Festival 2018 began officially yesterday with the cycling recreation. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, graced the event that began and ended at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien in the capital.

Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism as Chairman of the Brunei Tourism Development Board together with other cabinet ministers. Also present were His Majesty's sons and daughter; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Wakeel; and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah. After that His Majesty launched the Brunei December Festival 2018 which is the second such event organised in the country.

His Majesty then received a pasambah from the Committee of Brunei December Festival 2018.

His Majesty and members of the Royal Family led the more than 11 kilometre cycling around bandar Seri Begawan. The route included Jalan Masjid Omar 'Ali Saifuddien, Jalan Kianggeh, Jalan Sekolah, Jalan Kumbang Pasang, Jalan Perdana Menteri, Jalan Haji Basir and Jalan Sultan.

As they paddled on a healthy lifestyle recreation advocated by His Majesty, the cyclists passed several iconic monuments and historic places often visited by tourists. They included the Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Mosque, one of the country's major landmarks and the Bandar Seri Begawan Royal Wharf Art Gallery, previously known as the Royal Customs and Excise Building.

The recreational activity not only helped to promote the country's tourism industry but also highlighted the beauty of the capital. Also using paddling power as ambassadors and enthusiasts of recreational cycling and healthy lifestyle were Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, invited guests and members of the public.

The cordial presence of His Majesty and members of the Royal Family spurred a relaxed sporting spirit, simultaneously sparking the sporting culture and enhanced a sense of closeness and belonging through total involvement of the community. The direction of the activity was active and healthy living inline the declaration of "'Cycling : A National Hobby' during the Golden Jubilee Cycling Recreation last year.

The recreational activity is intended to produce healthy and united citizens and residents as well as transforming the country into one which possesses productive and resilient human resource. Additionally, during the month long school holidays, the recreational cycling will also motivate parents to spend quality time with their children as a close family institution leading a loving, caring and healthy lifestyle.

During the 'Brunei December Festival' 2018, 60 events have been lined-up to fill and enliven the year end school holidays from the beginning of December until the New Year. The Festival is organised by the Brunei Tourism Development Board in collaboration with several other stakeholders and strategic partners. Organising the festival is a government initiative intended to make Brunei Darussalam a first choice holiday destination and to encourage the people to shop and spend in the country.

Source: Radio Television Brunei