Mount Rinjani park backs away from plan to separate male, female hikers in support of halal tourism

Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani is a popular volcano for trekking. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani is a popular volcano for trekking. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After creating quite a buzz in less than 24 hours, the Mount Rinjani National Park Agency (TNGR) issued a statement earlier today saying it would not implement a controversial plan to separate female and male hikers.

Yesterday, officials from TNGR announced that it would require female and male hikers to camp in separate areas (except for those who are married or are relatives) while climbing the mountain in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, in order to support halal tourism on the island.

“The idea came to be because we don’t know if the couples who are hiking are married or not. There are also suspicions that the tourists visiting the Rinjani area are not very good,” TNGR head Sudiyono told Detik.com yesterday.  

But, after the announcement reaped a great deal of criticism, TNGR said this morning it would no longer implement the “planned policy”.

“In regards to the plan to separate camping areas for female and male hikers … we would like to convey that the program will not be implemented because it is not our priority,” Sudiyono said in the statement, as reported by Kompas.com.

Sudiyono added that TNGR will instead focus on their management for e-ticketing, waste and other facilities along Rinjani’s hiking trails, and implored an end to the ongoing discussions about the matter, fearing it would hurt Indonesia’s tourism industry.

The head of TNGR previously justified the policy on the basis of consultations with residents living around Rinjani, who believed that last year’s earthquakes had been caused by hikers’ disrespectful activities in the area (the superstition that natural disasters are a consequence of immorality is still widespread in certain parts of Indonesia).

Although TNGR was quick to offer an about face on the issue, that didn’t stop this Indonesian netizen from sharing his witty reaction to the news.

Mount Rinjani’s hiking trail was officially reopened on June 14, after it was closed following deadly earthquakes that hit Lombok in 2018.

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