TUARAN: A tourism entrepreneur here has urged the state government to put its foot down to curtail the “unscrupulous practices of dishonest tour operators from China”.
Tarmizi Sandhu, the proprietor of the now famous Borneo Ant House in Kindu here, claimed the China operators were “robbing” the state of revenue and local tourism operators of income.
What these operators do is to apply the usual modus operandi they use in many parts of the world. These China operators organise tours by collecting the money from the tourists before departing China, and bring the tourists to Sabah without using any in-bound tour operators here, Sandhu said.
And some of them are so clever in saving money and in maximising their income that they bring their tourists to visit mostly the tourist spots where they dont have to buy entrance tickets. Such places include places around the capital city, Tip of Borneo and Kundasangs Kinabalu National Park. They may simply avoid places like our Borneo Ant House.
Its robbery in broad daylight which has been going on for too long, Sandhu claimed.
This way they may have actually deprived the Sabah economy of possibly tens of millions of ringgits over the years with tour operators missing their due income.
“What is amazing is that the state government seems to have neglected this huge loss or perhaps have not been aware of it, he said.
Sandhu stressed that “if this outrageous trend continued, there is little value in promoting Sabah tourism which include expenses in the millions of ringgits for trade missions and promotions in expos overseas over the years.
Last years tourism receipt received by Sabah was expected to be RM8 billion, but there is no calculation for losses due to unscrupulous China operators.
“And whats the point of having almost one million tourists from China annually if this unscrupulous tour practice continues? Sandhu questioned.
Therefore, I appeal to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew, who is also the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, and the federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, to look into, and formulate strategies and strict rules to curb this practice as soon as possible.
Please dont forget that the state governments tourism priority is to maximise the states tourism revenue by first and foremost protecting the interests of local tourism operators and owners of tourist attractions such as exhibition and activity centres, Sandhu appealed.
SUMBER : theborneopost.com