KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Penang have agreed to start mutual promotion of their respective tourism destinations after signing a Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC).
The initiative would be implemented by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Penang Global Tourism (PGT), represented at the signing by their respective Chief Executive Officers Noredah Othman and Ooi Chok Yan.
STB Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and his PGT colleague Yeoh Soon Hin both called the agreement “meaningful” after witnessing the signing ceremony in George Town on Saturday (20 August).
The MOC came after the two co-chairs discussed the possibility of working together to promote each other’s tourist attractions during a meeting last December.
Both Bangkuai and Yeoh welcomed the agreement, noting that the two states share 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 improving the air connection between the two states and facilitating the engagement of important parties in relation to the development of products and tourism.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Yeoh in Penang last year and we explored the possibility of forming a city friendship between our two cities,” Bangkuai said in a statement Sunday (Aug. 21).
“We met again in Sabah and talked at length about how important it is to work together.
“I think this MOC is the first step to help us realize our friendship initiatives through tourism and it will hopefully lead to similar cooperation with other states,” added Bangkuai, who is also Deputy Minister of Tourism, culture and environment in Sabah.
He also called on STB and PGT to establish a key performance indicator to assess the effectiveness of their partnership and make adjustments as necessary to meet their goals.
Yeoh, who is also Penang State Exco for Tourism and Creative Industries (Petace), expressed optimism that the partnership with the STB would help boost both states’ economies and make them more resilient in the face of future challenges.
“We anticipate that the number of visitors to Malaysia will increase through the exchange of tourism ideas and the creation of dual-destination packages for the domestic and international markets.
“For me, the key to success in tourism lies in breaking up isolated approaches.
“To be successful, we must work together, and this important partnership is a step toward achieving our common goals,” Yeoh said.