Tourists advised to use licensed travel agents

KOTA KINABALU: Use licensed travel agents approved by the government rather than taking risks to save money, said Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Sabah Chapter chairman K L Tan.

Tourists should always check with licensed travel agents or obtain proper travel advice before they embark on their holidays, even tourists from Peninsular Malaysia.

“They can pay for the air ticket to fly here, why can’t they pay for the cost of travel agents?” Tan said when commenting on the three female tourists who were robbed at knife-point at one of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands here on Oct 24.

The three tourists, who were from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, boarded a speedboat at a jetty near the central market here on Sunday, thinking that they were heading to one of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands.

However, the boatman and his assistant took them to another nearby island where two other men were waiting and robbed them of  RM2,500 cash and four handphones.

The tourists, aged between 28 and 30 years old, were taken back to the jetty after three hours.

“All licensed agents use the jetty at Jesselton Point or hotels like Tanjung Aru Beach Resort or Sutera Harbour.

“There are no tourists who use the jetty at central market,” Tan said, adding that he was not aware of boat operators from the  jetty who offer transport services to tourists.

“The security everywhere in the world is not safe.

“As tourists, we should always take precaution and look after our own safety when we visit a foreign place.”

He added that he has not heard of similar cases in the past, and advised tourists to check licensed travel agents on MATTA or other travel agent association websites online before they go on holidays.

“I’ll sympathise if this happens to foreigners, but these people are naive and want to save money.” A member of the public, who wished to remain anonymous, suggested City Hall to put up a notice board at the jetty at the central market to inform tourists the proper location to board a boat to the islands.

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