SINGAPORE - Singapore Tourism Board (STB) thanks Mr Richard Lim Teong Seng for his comments ("When a travel agency closes..."; Oct 3).
All travel agents operating in Singapore are licensed by the STB.
They have to show that they have sufficient capital to run their businesses when applying for or renewing their licences. Those who fail to meet the requirements will not be granted a licence or risk losing it.
The STB takes a serious view of travel agents that suddenly cease operations. In such circumstances, affected consumers can seek help from the Consumers Association of Singapore or file their claims, where appropriate, at the Small Claims Tribunals.
If the travel agent is found to have contravened the relevant regulations, the STB will take the necessary actions, including prosecution, to protect the interests of affected consumers and safeguard the reputation of our tourism sector.
Consumers can also take measures to protect themselves; they should read and clarify terms and conditions prior to purchase. To safeguard against losing monies due to unforeseen circumstances, consumers should also consider purchasing travel insurance, and paying by instalments.
This is especially important if travel bookings are made far in advance.
Lastly, we strongly encourage consumers to choose travel agencies carefully and refer to the full list of licensed and accredited travel agencies at trust.yoursingapore.com and www.casetrust.org.sg
Ong Ling Lee (Ms) Director
Travel Agents and Tourist Guides Singapore Tourism Board
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