As the tourism industry continues to grow, local businesses are being warned against dubious foreign businessmen.
by Tommy Duncan, Carrybeans
Sabahans must be careful not to let questionable foreign businesses use their company name and brand to carry out their dealings. On Monday, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming warned local individuals and companies to be wise in their dealings.
According to the Borneo Post report, Pang lent some serious advice to local businesses, especially tour operators. If foreign partners abscond with the cash but don’t provide promised services, local operators will have to face the music.
“Our locals must be aware that if anything happens, they will be the ones to bear the burden and responsibility,” he said at the annual Liberal Democratic Party Chinese New Year Dinner on Monday.
Pang was reportedly commenting after the recent case of a Korean man fled the state after confirming tour packages for a tour group from China. The Korean national had sold cheap Chinese New Year period tour packages through local travel agents to groups from China at a very low price.
“In this case, if one of these Chinese group affected decided to take action against the fraud with the local company, and we are talking about millions of ringgit. Can the local company come up with the money?” asked the minister.
To resolve the issue, the affected travel agents approached Sabah Tourism Board for help. It worked out, but these locals had to burden great losses to book buses and accommodation for the near-stranded tourists.
Apparently, the man (who fled the state and cannot be contacted) decided to come to Sabah and start his business. He had heard from Korean friends that Sabah was an attractive destination for tourists.
He allegedly confirmed Chinese New Year bookings for 160 Chinese tourists, but when they arrived everything fell apart. “… and he was not able to get any coaches so he hired three mini buses to ferry the people to their hotels. It took about five hours. They managed to get accommodation but not as what was promised. He gave them many excuses and disappeared after that,” continued Pang.
These kind of incidents are not rare. Last year, my cousin decided to visit Incheon, South Korea for a 1o-day backpacking trip. Together with three friends, she decided to book her flights through a ‘friend’. This individual could supposedly bag them extremely low fares for the Kota Kinabalu-Seoul route.
One day before their trip, they found out (to their shock and horror) that their ticket reference numbers did not exist in the airline’s system. Sadly, they had been conned.
They ended up having to book their flight on a Korean low-cost carrier, but because it departed from Kuala Lumpur, they had to purchase a ticket there too. Not only did it a burn a big hole in their pockets, but it was a painful lesson!
So whether you’re a local business or traveller, always be wise about who you work with or engage. Have you gotten scammed before? Let us know in the comments below.
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Featured Image Credit: Agoda