KOTA KINABALU: Mount Tambuyukon and Mount Kinabalu — a two-in-one package — will create a more adventurous hike for tourists, said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun.Masidi also suggested issuing a higher value certificate for tourists who accomplished the hike on both mountains.
He said the aim of the special package was to increase the challenge in mountain climbing, as the climb up Mount Kinabalu is now more of a recreation activity than a physical challenge.
“I think climbing Mount Kinabalu is too easy.
“I am sure the new trail will attract more people to come back again and again,” Masidi said in a press conference after officiating at the Gunung Tambuyukon Scientific seminar here yesterday.
He added that Mount Tambuyukon, at a height of 2,800 metres, was a more challenging trail for climbers.
In addition, Masidi said the move would help disperse the crowd at Mount Kinabalu to a new attraction in Sabah, thus helping to maintain the current acceptable capacity in Mount Kinabalu at 192 to conserve the environment.
“We can accept more climbers but we shift some of them to Mount Tambuyukon,” he said, adding that the package would also increase the awareness of Mount Tambuyukon among the public.
Asked to comment about public complaints on the increase in price to climb Mount Kinabalu, Masidi said it was due to the privatisation of the Sabah Park.
He explained that the private company was said to have invested millions of ringgit into improving the infrastructure at the park, thus tourists were charged to get a return on investment.
Furthermore, he said the increase in price was also due to food and accommodation that were packaged together.
“In the past, climbers do not need to stay at Sabah Park headquarters before their climb but now the package made it necessary for them to stay in the headquarters, thus increasing the cost as climbers pay higher accommodation fee.”
Masidi added that operators only promote expensive packages, while there are cheaper options such as RM60 a night at the hostel.
Nonetheless, Masidi reassured that he has stopped any further in
price at Sabah Parks, including working on getting funds to build accommodation in Sabah Park and Lapan Rata.
Privatisation of the park started in 1998 and will end in 2028.