KUALA LUMPUR - A new policy will be put in place by April requiring all tour agencies to deposit bond money with the Tourism Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the move was to prevent fraudulent tour agencies from mushrooming.
"Previously, we have complaints that some people booked tours with certain agencies only to find that the companies had closed shop when they tried to contact them later," she said after launching Fabulous Food 1Malaysia at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
"The bond money will be used to pay back tourists who were cheated by these fraudulent tour agencies," she said, adding that currently, there was no such policy to protect the visitors.
Dr Ng said her ministry had been lenient towards tour agencies thus far, requiring them to only follow basic business regulations.
"We trusted and gave them the liberty, believing that they would do the right thing but they did not. Hence, we have to step in," she said.
"The agencies may also be required to have an insurance policy, but we have not decided on this yet."
On another matter, Dr Ng said the ministry would review the call for visa to be waived for tourists from Taiwan.
"This is to encourage more Taiwanese to visit our country because they love Malaysia's eco-tourism," she said.
Fabulous Food 1Malaysia is a three-day event. It ends today.