Unlike (at) MATTA Fairs where foreign exhibitors are only involved in promotions and not in direct transactions, the foreign companies at the mall were collecting payments from customers, which is illegal,
KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is calling on authorities to act against illegal tour businesses, and is urging the public to deal only with licensed travel agents.
In a statement, MATTA Kuala Lumpur Chapter chairman Rocky Kho said he was shocked upon seeing foreign companies selling Malaysian tour products at a prominent mall recently.
“Unlike (at) MATTA Fairs where foreign exhibitors are only involved in promotions and not in direct transactions, the foreign companies at the mall were collecting payments from customers, which is illegal,” said Mr Kho.
“Firstly, they are unlikely to be issued work permits and probably in the country on tourist visa. Secondly, only tour companies licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture are permitted to sell tour packages and travel arrangements directly to customers at licensed premises only. They are not allowed to set up shop or booth anywhere they want without a licence.”
He added: “Anyone selling tour packages and travel arrangements using a table, kiosk, booth or a shop comer is likely to operate an illegal tour business. Large and reputable mall operators should be fully aware of this and not allow unlicensed tour business to operate within their premises.
“Many businesses are operating illegally in this country, including online. Action must be taken against such unlicensed operator businesses. Not only they do not pay local taxes, they have taken a lot of money out of this country.”
Mr Kho also warned that travellers run the risk of being cheated by these illegal tour operators.
“Many travellers have often been fooled by cheap tours and bargains promised by individuals they know or introduced to them. Many people were cheated because they were overly confident in websites and social media until they discover they cheated," he pointed out.
“Consumers unwilling to pay a reasonable price for services and always looking for cheap bargains are easily enticed. In the event they are short-changed, dissatisfied or not getting any service at all, they will have no recourse.”