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JERANTUT: Youths in Kampung Paya Gunung here and its neighboring villages will benefit from activities generated from the via ferrata (climbing route) installed into the hillside here. Tourism Malaysia eastern region director Zaliha Zainuddin said youths have an interest in rock climbing activities and with the via ferrata, it is now more accessible to them. With their own initiative, aid from the Government and promotion from the tourism industry, the youths can now look forward to developing the activity in their village. “Youths, locals and non-locals come here almost every day, particularly every weekend to learn and test their skills in rock climbing.

“They can also enjoy the view because once they scale the via ferrata, they can see a 360-degree view from the limestone rock of the Paya Gunung hill at 120m above sea level. “They can either be new climbers practising their skills or guides who assist tourists,” said Zaliha. Italian for the “iron road”, the via ferrata is a series of steel cables that allows climbers to scale the limestone rock hill. The 200m-long via ferrata is now a new tourist attraction in Pahang. Zaliha said the via ferrata would be recommended to be included in the Visit Malaysia 2020 packages for its eco-tourism and extreme sports attractions.

She said it was a first-of-its-kind attraction in peninsular Malaysia and the second in the country after the one at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah. Zaliha recently brought tourism players from Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang as well as her staff to try out the via ferrata with help from guides and local youths. She said more would be done to sustain the activities so that the attraction would not be wasted in the future. “We cannot totally rely on the Tourism Ministry to do the promotion.

“The villagers here have to play their part too in promoting and maintaining the product so that the activities can keep on growing. “On the Government side, we have provided the basic facilities such as public toilets, surau, dining hall, an open space for a small gathering and tarred road for easy access. “We also plan to provide an English language course for the youths here so that they can speak English better when dealing with foreign tourists,” Zaliha said. She said last year, some 122,000 tourists visited Jerantut district, which has other attractions like Taman Negara and the Kota Gelanggi caves.


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