Fake Agents on MATTA Radar

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is working closely with the Tourism and Culture Ministry to combat fraudulent activities involving fake or illegal travel agents.

Its president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said there have been widespread fraud cases involving fake agents lately and the trend is worrying.

“With fast developing digital media presence such as Facebook and WhatsApp, travel and tour promotions are easily communicated to consumers.

“Consumers will need to be more cautious with travel and tour packages marketed online,” he said yesterday. Tan urged consumers to check the legitimacy and status of the travel and tour companies at the ministry’s public database which can be accessed on its website.

“All MATTA members are registered under the ministry and consumers can alternatively check on our website and be more vigilant,” he added.

He said consumers can also refer to its travel agents as they are required to display their licence and serial numbers issued by the ministry.

Tan said the ministry issues three types of licences under the tour operating business and travel agency business. There are ticketing for travel agencies, which are agencies mainly for airlines, hotels, and other principals; outbound for tour companies organising tours overseas; and inbound for tour companies handling inbound and domestic tourists for tours within the country including the provision of transportation services.

“Through online, consumers must be smart enough to find out the legitimacy and status of the travel and tour companies rather than just trusting an online marketing portal offering all sorts of promises.

“Customers also need to keep an eye on all the policies, terms and conditions before making a booking,” he added. Tan advised travellers to visit the travel agency in mind and gauge its capabilities by looking at the size of its operations, resources and authenticity.

“If there is any doubt, then the customer should meet the travel agent face to face and also check with the ministry or MATTA,” he said.