KOTA KINABALU: K-pop fans here will be thrilled to know that plans are afoot for Kota Kinabalu and South Korean city Gapyeong to be sister cities.
The signing of a memorandum of understanding for the twinning is expected to take place next year, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew who announced the plan as part of a tourism and trade promotional move.
Gapyeong is an hour’s drive from Seoul.
“We have the world famous Sipadan Island on the east coast of Sabah, while Nami Island (near Gapyeong) is known for Korean drama shoots. It is a famous tourist attraction in Korea, ” she said.
Gapyeong, she said, was also known for its landscape, resorts and nature tourism.
Currently, Korean tourist arrivals to Sabah constitute the second highest in numbers after China.
There are more than 40 direct flights per week from South Korea to Sabah via five airlines.
Liew is also in favour of getting Korean tourists, among others, to go beyond Kota Kinabalu by visiting tourist destinations in Sandakan and Tawau.
“Our aim is to increase the tourist flow from Korea to Sabah and vice versa, and to promote cultural exchange. We may also look into possible cooperation in the field of education, ” she said in a statement.
Liew, who is also state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said the mayor of Gapyeong county, Kim Sungki, paid a courtesy call on Thursday.
They agreed on having the MoU about the twinning, which would be mutually beneficial to both parties, she said.
She said she would discuss the proposed MoU with City Hall mayor Datuk Nordin Siman, among others.
“My senior marketing manager will be working on the terms of the MoU. It is likely to be inked in Gapyeong next year to reciprocate mayor Kim’s maiden visit to Sabah, ” she said.
New relations: Kim (second left) presenting Gapyeong iconic pine nuts as a gift to Liew during a courtesy call in Kota Kinabalu.
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