MATTA urges travellers not be fooled by cheap tours

TRAVELLERS have been cautioned to not engage the services of unlicensed tour operators or bogus travel agencies that might use lower priced packages as their main lures.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Kuala Lumpur Chapter chairman Rocky Kho said 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.

Kho said travellers should not be enticed by cheap tours and bargains that are promised by individuals they only know via websites and social media to avoid any fraud cases.

The reminder came following Kho's shocking discovery about the existence of foreign companie s selling tourism products using an exhibition booth located in the middle of a prominent shopping mall at Jalan Cheras on Sept 14.

"They are unlikely to be issued work permits and probably in the country on a tourist visa," he said in a statement.

Accordingly, companies are not allowed to set up shop or booth anywhere without a licence.

Kho added that Matta Fair is the place for foreign exhibitors to operate. However, they are only involved in promotional activities and not direct transactions, whic h is totally the opposite of foreign companies that are collecting payments from customers, which is illegal.

"Large and reputable mall operators should be fully aware of this and not allow unlicensed tour business to operate within their premises.

"Action must be take n against unlicense d operato r businesses, including online businesses, as they have taken a lot of money out of the country besides not paying local taxes," he said.

Kho said only licensed tour operators — particularly members of MATTA
— will ensure that customers receive excellent service together with competitive prices because of the volume of business transacted.