KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Penang have agreed to embark on cross-promotion of their respective tourist destinations after signing a memorandum of collaboration (MOC).
The initiative would be undertaken by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Penang Global Tourism (PGT), who were represented at the signing by their respective chief executives Noredah Othman and Ooi Chok Yan.
STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and his PGT counterpart Yeoh Soon Hin both described the deal as “momentary” after attending the signing ceremony in George Town on Saturday August 20.
The MOC came after the two presidents discussed the possibility of working together to promote each other’s tourist attractions during a meeting last December.
Bangkuai and Yeoh were delighted with the agreement, noting that the two states shared a similar commitment to the positive impact tourism could have on the people and economies of their respective states as well as the nation.
The objectives of the MOC between Sabah and Penang include, among others, improving flight connectivity between the two states and facilitating engagement of key parties with respect to product and tourism development.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Yeoh in Penang last year, and we explored the possibility of establishing a city of friendship relationship between our two cities,” Bangkuai said in a statement Sunday, August 21.
“We met again in Sabah and spoke at length about the importance of working together.
“I think this MOC is the first step to help us achieve our friendship initiatives through tourism and I hope it will lead to similar collaboration with other states,” added Bangkuai, who is also Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah.
He also called on the STB and the PGT to establish a key performance indicator to assess the effectiveness of their partnership and make necessary adjustments to achieve their goals.
Yeoh, who is also Penang State’s exco for Tourism and Creative Economy (Petace), expressed his optimism that the partnership with the STB will help boost the economies of both states and help them grow. make it more resilient to future challenges.
“We plan to increase the number of visitors to Malaysia through the sharing of tourism ideas and the creation of dual-destination packages for both domestic and international markets.
“For me, the key to success in tourism is to break down siled approaches.
“To be successful, we must work together, and this important partnership is a step towards achieving our common goals,” Yeoh said.