Proposed tougher action against illegal tourist guides

Proposed tougher action against illegal tourist guides
Tourists from China pose for a photograph with Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in the background

Offenders may also face harsher penalties, with plans to double the maximum fine to $10,000 for recalcitrants. There are also possible plans for more training and to raise the professionalism among licensed tourist guides.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the press release from MTI:

Government proposes amendments to STB acto to strengthen tourist guiding in Singapore

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) are seeking public feedback on proposed amendments to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Act.

The proposed legislative changes are part of Government's ongoing efforts to raise the professionalism of tourist guides and the quality of tourist guiding in Singapore.

"Tourist guides are a key touch point for many tourists, and they play an important role in developing and promoting Singapore as a choice tourist destination. Hence, we must continuously enhance the professionalism and standards of our tourist guides so that they can provide high quality, authentic and differentiated travel experiences for tourists. STB is working with the industry to raise tourist guide capabilities through various skills upgrading initiatives. We also need to review the regulatory framework to effectively tackle unlicensed guiding, which could otherwise tarnish Singapore's image and impede the professional development of the tourist guide industry," said Mr S Iswar an, Minister (Prime Minister's Office) and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.

Strengthening Regulatory Regime

MTI and STB have reviewed the existing regulatory regime and are proposing legislative changes to strengthen the regulations against illegal guiding. To strengthen STB's investigative powers against illegal guiding, the STB Act is proposed to be amended so that STB can, where necessary, search premises, question, take evidence and detain suspects who refuse to cooperate with STB during investigations, or where STB reasonably believes that unlicensed guiding has taken place. Furthermore, changes are proposed to the legislation to add a presumption of remuneration, under certain circumstances, and to enable composition of offences to help STB take swifter enforcement action against offenders. Other proposed amendments include updating the types of guiding offences to keep pace with the modus operandi of unlicensed guiding, raising the maximum penalty for unlicensed guiding and related offences to maintain their deterrent effect and repealing outdated provisions.

Subsequently, STB will also be updating the relevant subsidiary legislation and introduce new initiatives as part of the overall drive to enhance the professionalism and guiding standards of the tourist guide community.

Submission of Comments and Feedback

We welcome members of the public to share comments and feedback on the proposed amendments to the STB Act. Starting today, members of the public can access the public consultation paper via REACH and provide feedback to The public consultation will end on 13 December 2013, 5pm.

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