Holidaymakers scammed

(From left) Staging Connections Events & Travels Sdn Bhd general manager Lim Chen Yan, MATTA Johor chapter deputy chairman Kenny Ngi, Lee, Malaysia Airlines Bhd southern region & east coast area manager Caren Lee Min Wah, MATTA committee member Marcella Harun and honorary treasurer Charlie Chia after the press conference.

JOHOR BARU: The public should be careful when it comes to purchasing their holidays packages online as many have fallen victims to scams.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor Chapter chairman Kathryn Lee said that recently some 120 passengers were left stranded at the KL International Airport (KLIA) just before going on their overseas holiday.

“People should always be careful when purchasing packages at very cheap prices as this could be a scam,” she said, adding that it was always safer to purchase holiday packages from a licensed travel agent.

In the incident last month, the 120 holidaymakers had purchased tour packages to Europe, including stops in Turkey, Paris and Santorini (Greece). from an online travel agency.

However, upon turning up at the airport, they found out that they had not been booked with any of the airlines as promised, and that the travel agency was not licensed. The accumulated losses were estimated at more than RM810,000.

The public can check if a travel agent is licensed by checking out the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s official website at

Lee added that more effort was needed to spruce up the tourism industry in Johor, including taking part in more domestic travel fairs around Malaysia.

She said that the travel industry for the first two months of this year has been relatively slow compared with the same period last year.

On the upcoming MATTA Fair next month, Lee added that it would be a good time for locals to get good deals on their holidays.

She said that this year’s MATTA Fair would be held from April 5 to 7 at the Capital City in Tampoi from 10.30am to 9.30pm. Some some 150 exhibitors would be taking part in the three-day event, including travel agencies, tour agencies, resorts, hotels, theme parks and others offering good packages.

Lee said this year, they have divided the fair into two segments, with one area catering to domestic packages and another for international holidays.

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