Saturday, August 15

Tourism Ministry urged to work extra hard for Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: Kapayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi is reminding the Federal Tourism and Culture Ministry to put their act together to ensure that the tourism industry in Sabah will remain vibrant and attractive.

He said the government had apparently felt that it could gain some RM6.5 billion receipts from tourism in 2014 but unfortunately could not foresee that the fatal and kidnapping incidents in the east coast would happen.

“Now it appears that the government has to work extra hard to achieve this target,” he said, adding the security issue appeared to have been addressed by the security personnel which was a very challenging one.

Dr Bosi also said that the problem of unlicensed tour operators, agents, guides and their transportation, if left unchecked, could bring down the tourism industry as well.

“I am glad to read in the newspapers that the ministry has sprung into action to check these operators and guides,” he said.

However, he lamented that the illegal vans are still very much in the business and far below the industry’s expectations.

Dr Bosi felt that the ministry should go after these illegal operators rather than spending time checking on the legal operators for minor offences.

“I was informed that at their last operations, the ministry only managed to nab 10 illegal vans. This is a poor performance,” he said.

“The cheating cases on the other hand can be avoided if tourists check out the tour agents in their own country first before planning the travel. If they are domestic travellers, they should check with the Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents (MATTA) or the government tourism websites to avoid been duped by unlicensed tour operators and guides,” he said.

Dr Bosi, who is also DAP Sabah secretary, also said that he concurred with Api-Api assemblywoman Christina Liew on her proposal for the establishment of a ‘professional indemnity fund’ to provide an avenue for compensation to tourists in cases when on arrival the companies have gone bust and for other special circumstances.

But he said such funds should not be used for cheating cases, as it will only encourage consumers to use illegal operators and tour guides and ultimately being bailed out by the industry stakeholders.