JOHOR BARU: Holidaymakers looking forward to an enjoyable domestic tourism experience are reminded not to take up too-good-to-be-true travel deals that have been popping up since the recovery movement control order (MCO) was imposed on March 18.
Newly-minted Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) Johor chapter chairman Edwin Tay said as more Malaysians opt for domestic tourism, there would inevitably be some unscrupulous parties taking advantage of the situation to make a quick buck.
He said the association recently came across an online travel package that advertised a Sabah island holiday tour at only RM500 but in reality, the package would cost at least RM900.
“The matter came to our attention after a consumer, who wanted to enjoy a getaway after domestic travel was allowed, made the full payment only to realise that he was duped by a non-existent tour operator.
“The association later found out that the tour operator had used the name of a now-shuttered tour company to offer such packages online,” he said in an interview.
Tay said such low prices would usually be the first thing that caught the consumers’ eyes and influence their decision to make a purchase.
“Often, consumers would not take the trouble to check the tour operator’s credentials and legitimacy before making a payment.
“All legitimate tour operators and companies will usually display their registration number so consumers should look out for that before making a payment and should always obtain a receipt as proof of purchase,” he said.
Tay said the association would work with the relevant agencies, including the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, to monitor the situation and prevent more people from getting misled by such advertisements.
He added that consumers could check on the tour company’s legitimacy via the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s registry at www.motac.gov.my/en/check/tobtab
Tay, who was sworn in as the chapter’s chairman on Sept 21, said the new committee under his leadership would appoint a legal adviser soon to help its members improve their legal knowledge.
“This is to help tour operators who faced booking cancellations and postponement since international travel restrictions started earlier this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We hope to equip them with better knowledge on the rights of both the tour operators and consumers to help them reach an amicable solution when handling the matter,” he said.