Friday, May 11, 2007

Protecting holiday-makers from dodgy tour agents

The Tourism Ministry together with the Malaysian Association of Travel and Tour Agents (Matta) will find a way to ensure that consumers will not lose money they paid to tour agents that go bust.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said a mechanism was needed to protect consumers if a similar incident happened again and also to penalise those who cheat consumers.

“Other countries like Britain, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong already have such mechanisms so we must study theirs to come up with the best model that is both workable and practical here.”

Lim was referring to the recent case of tour agent Excellence Holidays Sdn Bhd which went bankrupt and caused scores of people to lose money they had paid in advance for tour packages to locations like Europe, China and Hong Kong.

“Our legal people will look at the Tourism Industry Act 1992 to see how this can be done.”

Lim said the Act already provided for companies to provide coverage of RM100,000 in event of such cases but Bank Negara’s directive was not to allow such a policy on business transactions.

“In other words, it is not in effect and the amount is not much either. We may have to ask Bank Negara for a special exemption from this rule for tour and travel agents,” Lim said.

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Source : STAR
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