KOTA KINABALU: Plans for a fun weekend for many were stuck in traffic due to a jam along the one-lane Kundasang-Ranau road, says Ranau Tourism Association (Rata) president Malvin Marcus.
He said that while there isn’t much traffic during non-peak periods, the situation is different during public or school holidays, long weekends or if there were events that attract large crowds to the Kundasang highlands.
“It will usually take some five to 10 minutes to ply through the Kundasang-Ranau road to get to your destination but during peak seasons, it can stretch to hours,” he said when contacted.
“The drive from Kundasang to Ranau town or the Lohan area takes about 30 minutes’ but they can be stuck in Kundasang for three to four hours and in that time, attractions may have closed,” added Marcus.
He said that instead of visiting places of interest, tourists spend more time in their cars on the road and this makes them frustrated.
As such, Marcus urged the government and relevant authorities to give serious attention to the issue over the road and traffic congestion immediately, pointing out it has given a negative effect to the tourism industry in Ranau, besides disrupting the daily lives of locals.
“The tourism sector in Ranau cannot compromise with this situation anymore as it involves losses of thousands of ringgit in revenue,” said Marcus.
“As such, we urge the powers that be to resolve this matter urgently like opening alternative routes as well as upgrading existing or alternative roads,” he added.
Since 2019, Sabah has been enjoying Dec 24 as an additional holiday for Christmas on Dec 25 and as this year’s Christmas Eve is on a Sunday, it was replaced with Tuesday (Dec 26) as a holiday, leading to a four-day holiday from Saturday (Dec 23).
Marcus said that although the traffic crawl is seasonal, it should not be viewed lightly as the issue not only affected tourism players but also ordinary Ranau folk.
He said traffic lights should also be put up at several points on the stretch to ensure good traffic flow and added tha traffic policemen are needed during peak seasons to control the movement of vehicles.
He said signs must be erected as well to clearly indicate alternative routes as many tourists are still unaware certain routes exist.
“Ranau is among the districts that contribute significantly to Sabah’s economy in tourism but is left out in terms of facilities or development.
“We are ready to sit down with the related agencies to find an immediate solution to this predicament,” Marcus said, hoping there will be light at the end of the tunnel sooner than later.