Crack down on illegal tour operators in Sabah – STF

Liew (left) listening to the grouses aired by Chew (right) during the courtesy call.

KOTA KINABALU (Apr 24): The Sabah Tourism Federation (STF) has expressed concerns over illegal tour operation affecting the businesses of licensed tour operators and unregulated accommodation providers like AirBnB and illegal homestay facilities.

“We urge the government to set up a panel to address woes plaguing the tourism sector in Sabah. We want the authorities to put a stop to the illegal use of ‘white vans’ by certain quarters to transport tourists from one place to another,” STF president Tonny Chew said to Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

“They are not only flouting the law but also posing a danger to public safety, given that the vehicles are not registered with the authorities,” he said after leading a delegation to pay a courtesy call on Liew recently.

Members of the STF comprise the Sabah Tourist Association (STA), Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA), Sabah Chapter, Persatuan Pemandu Pelancong Berlesen Bumiputera Negeri Sabah (PBB Sabah), Sabah Tourist Guides Association (STGA), Persatuan Homestay Sabah (PHS), Malaysia Inbound Chinese Association (MICA), (Sabah Chapter), Sabah Backpacker Association (SBA), Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), (Sabah Chapter), Malaysia Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA), (Sabah Chapter) and Sabah Hotel Association (SHA).

Chew added STF will be receptive to any ideas or suggestions from the minister for the good of the tourism industry.

He said the STF looked forward to continuing close rapport with Liew and her team at the ministry.

“Our discussion with the minister was a fruitful one. She was very open when we deliberated on ways to overcome the challenges faced by member organisations,” he said.

Present were MyBHA Sabah Chapter Chairman James Ong, Chairman of STGA Grace Leong, MICA Sabah Chapter Chairman Eddie Chan, SBA Chairman Jeffrey Tsang and PHS Chairman Djuanis Mengirong.

Meanwhile, the STF sought help over the water supply disruption, especially for member hotels in the KK Times Square area.

Their requests to the Government include a 30 per cent rebate on electricity bills from July 2021 to now and a special discount for future bills, and a free city bus service from the city centre to 1Borneo Hypermall and other parts of Kota Kinabalu.

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