Tour Buddy services are illegal

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) advised its members, numbering over 3,200 tour and travel companies nationwide not to engage Tour Buddy services saying it is illegal.

"Tour buddies are illegal tourist guides and will be in hot soup if caught by officers from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture when enforcing Section 21.1 of the Tourism Industry Act, which states: No person shall act, or hold himself out, as a tourist guide unless he is licensed under this Part," said MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang (pic). MATTA expressed disappointment with the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) and Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for introducing the Tour Buddy service which it claims will bring the local tourism industry into disrepute. 

"There is no doubt that disruptive technology would continue to make many existing jobs redundant while creating new ones, but existing laws must be observed by responsible organisations, unless they are above the law," he said. He pointed out Clause 19 of the Tourism Industry Act 1992, which states that (1) 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.