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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sabah tourism ministry slams protest by tourist guides at airport

It says a group of Chinese tourists were stranded and terrified by the harassment they underwent and this will affect tourism.

PETALING JAYA: Sabah’s tourism and culture ministry has condemned two tourist guide associations for staging a protest at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport early yesterday, NST Online reported.
Its director, Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar, said their action had terrified a tourist group from China, which was stranded for two hours and feared for their safety.
He said it had also tarnished the “friendly Sabahans” image and painted a negative image to tourists arriving in the state.
The protest was by the Sabah Tourist Guide Association and Bumiputera Tourist Guide Association angry over “illegal” tourist guides.
The group of Chinese tourists were greeted by disgruntled local tour guides after arriving at 12.30am, the news portal said.
The Chinese were on holiday under a licensed local tour company run by a South Korean.
The protesters claimed that the company had hired illegal tour guides.
The protesters confronted the tourists and questioned the legitimacy of their guide and warned them of the consequences, the report said.
The protesters followed the tourists as they boarded their tour bus. The Chinese visitors were stranded for two hours as their guide had fled after being earlier confronted by the protesters.
Ag Ahmad said the alleged company had conducted its business legally according to the Tourism Industry Act 1992.
“At that point of time, they had a licensed tourist guide and tour buses waiting at the airport to receive the tourists upon arrival.”
He said his ministry viewed the incident seriously and had requested the police to look into whether the assembly was illegal.
“We will not hesitate to revoke all their licences with immediate effect if they are found to have committed an offence.”
NST also quoted Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun as saying the incident could tarnish Sabah’s image as a preferred destination for Chinese tourists.
“If this happens, it will indirectly affect local tour guides and related tourism service providers.” -FMT

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