Sabah tourism ministry to probe allegations of illegal tour packages, price manipulation

KOTA KINABALU: Investigations will be conducted on claims that many visitors had booked tour packages with unregistered operators, says Datuk Jafry Ariffin.

“We received reports of price manipulation from unregistered tour agents in Semporna and will conduct a probe on this,” said the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister.

He said action needs to be taken quickly to prevent untoward incidents, especially with the revival of tourism activities in Sabah.

Jafry said the negative impact on the overall tourism industry would be huge if the problem was not nipped in the bud.

“Price manipulation is causing legal operators huge losses, more so following the pandemic and everyone is trying to revive their businesses right now,” he said.

He said apart from losses, the safety of tourists who engaged the services of unlicensed agents would be compromised as the workers might not have received proper safety training and would not be able to respond well during an emergency.

Jafry also reminded legal tour operators to maintain their pricing and not mark up the prices as the economy has just started its revival process.

He said it was vital to kick start domestic tourism while taking into account the customers’ welfare and operators’ income.

Registered tour agents have warned travellers against engaging in the services of illegal operators for safety reasons. The Semporna Professional Divers Association (SPDA) recently alleged that many visitors had booked tour packages with unregistered operators.

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