Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fears in E-Tourism

Many people use credit cards to book tickets, hotel rooms and tour packages but there are concerns that card details held by the various vendors may not be safe.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat said e-tourism being promoted in the Asia-Pacific region by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had enormous potential but that such security fears of consumers should be addressed.

“The question is how safe are the credit card details kept by staff of such organisations like a hotel? There is a risk of usage and abuse. This has to be addressed,” he told reporters after addressing a UNCTAD conference on “Asia-Pacific: E-tourism for Growth” here.

Chong, who is state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, believed that UNCTAD, with its international networking, would be able to play a key role in helping to enhance e-tourism security.

“I believe that UNCTAD, with so many speakers, can address this issue,” he added at the conference opened by UNCTAD secretary-general Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi.

Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee, in his address to the 150 delegates at the conference, said e-tourism was becoming increasingly popular among Malaysians who get 40% of their travel information through the Internet.

“More than 30% of all bookings were done through the Internet,” he said, adding that it was a clear change in tourist behaviour and more effort needed to be put into e-tourism.

“ICT and the Internet have substantially changed the playing field for travel and tour companies throughout the world. It is now up to these companies to take up the challenge,” he said, citing as an example Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia which has seen rapid growth on the back of Internet bookings.

Source : STAR
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