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Tourism cheating cases not easy to deal with
Published on: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Cheating cases in the tourism industry, as with all industries, are not easy to deal with because there is no guarantee that everyone in the tourism business is honest, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He said licensing is under the Federal Ministry of Tourism so enforcement rules and regulations are under their purview via their Sabah Office.

Masidi on Monday said this when asked to comment on the latest incident involving a group of three tourists who were cheated of a Mabul Island tour package by a licensed tour guide.

The trio, two from Hong Kong, lost RM8,735 for a five-days and four-nights Mabul Island diving package which their tour guide failed to deliver.

This happened just weeks after another group was cheated of a Mount Kinabalu tour package by a woman claiming to be from a tour agency.

"I hope a police report has been lodged against the licensed tour guide and if indeed it is true, our Ministry would not hesitate to recommend the suspension or cancellation of his license," said Masidi.

"Sabahans are known to be honest and this has given us a good image," he added.

He said the entire industry players should self regulate their profession to minimise crime within the industry because crime committed by one would affect the entire industry.

The group's spokesperson, a Malaysian who only wanted to be identified as Daniel, claimed that he booked the diving package through the said tour guide operating under a tour operator located in Tanjung Aru Plaza in May this year.

He said that they banked in RM2, 620.50 to the tour guide the same month and paid the balance of RM6, 115 the following month.

"We used his services for a Pulau Tiga trip earlier this year which was why I never expected him to cheat us this time around," he said, adding that they were supposed to meet at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport arrival hall at about 8am on Aug 11 but the tour guide never showed up.

He claimed that they checked with the Tourism Malaysia counter at the airport and was told that the said tour company was not registered, prompting them to trace the company to Tanjung Aru Plaza based on their tour package invoice, only to find an empty shop lot.

The group managed to make a new booking through another travel agent for a five days and four nights Mabul Island package for RM5,475.

Upon returning to Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, they lodged a police report at the Karamunsing Police Station after making a complaint at the Sabah Tourism Board.

"This incident has tainted the image of our tourism industry and as the host to my Hong Kong guests, I felt ashamed of the incident, thus we hope the police and tourism authority would take action against the said tour guide.

"This is only appropriate, as we had trusted him since he has a tour guide license issued by the tourism authority, it would be a different case if we had engaged an unlicensed tour guide," said Daniel.

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