KUALA LUMPUR, 18 May 2016: Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) inbound vice president Datuk Tan Kok Liang has expressed support for the call to allow tourists to choose whether they wish to pay for the service of a tourist guide, as published under “Tourist guides unnecessary today” (Daily Express, May 15).
Tan explained “We should not impose on tourists that they must be escorted by a tourist guide when they do not want their privacy to be intruded. It is also not fair to force them to pay. But under the Tourism Industry Act 1992, no licensed tourism enterprise shall employ, or obtain for a tourist or any other person the services of, a tourist guide who is not licensed under this Act or whose licence has been suspended or revoked. Also, no person shall act, or hold himself out, as a tourist guide unless he is licensed”
“The laws should be amended that only licensed tourist guides must be engaged if customers have paid for the service, and the onus is on tour operators to find the best available. Licensing of tourist guides should protect tourists but existing regulations are protecting tourist guides and tourists are victimised.”
“Before the information age, accessing knowledge is limited and costly, as it can only be transmitted in written or spoken words, in still or motion pictures. With computerisation and internet, vast amount of information is easily accessible to anyone interested. With social media and mobile apps downloaded in smart phones, it is available 24/7 at the fingertips.”
“Many people in the same group may not be communicating with each other face-to-face and would be uncomfortable listening to a tourist guide rambling on things they have no interest. Few people would try to remember as they know information can be found anytime using the smartphone, such as the most interesting places to visit, the best food in town, the swankiest entertainment outlets, and they are able to make bookings in advance and how to get there.”
‘The phone has replaced the need to have watches to tell time and cameras to take photos and videos. Ride-hailing apps have allowed easy access to transport and tourists are no longer at the mercy of local taxi drivers. Similarly, they should not be subjected to antiquated laws when it comes to tourist guides”, concluded Tan.