KOTA KINABALU: Researchers are working on promoting volcano tourism at Tawau Hills Park.
Two volcanic spots have been identified at the national park – the turquoise water of the white sulphurous springs and an ancient crater at Mount Lucia, one of the three large mountains in the area.
These spots are just a few hours’ walk from the dormant Bombalai volcano, believed to have last erupted thousands of years ago.
Malaysian Tourism and Culture Ministry (Sabah) director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said the ministry, along with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), had been exploring the possible introduction of volcano tourism in the state since 2015.
“Volcano tourism may not be new worldwide,” he said.
“However, it is for Malaysia, especially Sabah,” he said in an interview.
Apart from this area, there were other volcanic attractions such as Columnar Joints, along the Balung River, and Conical Sprouts at Andrassy, both of which were accessible from Tawau town, Ahmad Zaki said.
UMS Sustainability Volunsharing Programme co-founder Dr Awangku Hassanal Bahar Pengiran Bagul said volcano tourism was normally linked with other recreational activities that included hiking, sightseeing, camping and even mountaineering.
“But it can still be recognised as an independent tourism sector,” he added.