Improve communication between airlines and tour agents, says minister

KOTA KINABALU: A good communication system should be established between airline service providers and tour agents to avoid complications for tourists and to enable easy planning for both parties.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun suggested that such a communication system should be established, after he returned from a trip where he found many tourists  stuck at an airport  due to last minute flight cancellations.

“There were probably over 100 foreign tourists stuck at the airport, and at least 50-60 of them were cursing the airline and the state of Sabah for causing so many problems for them.

“According to the tourists, they were stuck there for hours upon hours before finally finding out that their flights were cancelled. Many of them woke up very early in the morning with the hope of catching their flight but were left with disappointment. This will definitely tarnish the good name of Sabah, especially the tourism industry,” he said.

Masidi made the suggestion during an industrial dialogue with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and the Tourism Ministry.

He said airlines should never hide or keep it to the last minute if there were flight complications, cancellation or delays and they should have informed tour agents or individuals earlier.

“I  think  that  it is not right for the airlines to do this because if they have informed the tour agents or the individual passengers earlier, alternative arrangements  can  be  made. It is an  unpleasant  thing       to experience – being stranded in the airport waiting for a flight that has been cancelled. There are even some airlines which hide  the fact that flights were cancelled by stating that  the  flights  are delayed,” he said.

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