The Tourism Ministry of Malaysia is reportedly looking into establishing tours and travel to key locations of volcanic interest around the town of Tawau. Located near Sabah in the eastern region of the country, this district is home to Malaysia’s only technically active volcano – Mount Bombalai.
“What makes volcano tourism a niche market is the experience and interpretation of the volcanic characteristics and heritage,” commented the president of the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents, KL Tan. “The market for volcano tourism ranges from recreational tourists to adventure tourists. These tourists are usually looking for something new and unique while combining their interest in other recreational pursuits such as sightseeing, hiking or mountaineering,” he continued.
Two sites of potential interest have been identified in Tawau Hills Park, which is home to white sulphur springs and the ancient crater at Mount Lucia. Bombalai volcano is located near the border with Indonesian Kalimantan on the island of Borneo; although it last erupted thousands of years ago, the mountain is considered by experts to still be active, and provides stunning views and natural wonders to visitors in spite of its dormant status.
Inbound travel agencies are beginning to recognise the potential of Malaysia’s only volcanic region as a special attraction for tourism. KL Tan calls Tawau “a unique tourism product”. He adds that Tawau can also be the ideal entry point for divers on their way to the islands of Sipadan and Mabul. This allows Volcanic Tawau tours to be the perfect complementary product to diving in Sabah.