Tourists warned against fake travel agents
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) on Sunday cautioned residents not to fall prey to bogus travel agents and tour operators promoting low-cost international flights during the summer vacation to woo customers.
Ahmed Al-Eisa, assistant vice president of the SCTA for licensing and quality assurance, warned both citizens and residents not to deal with anonymous individuals claiming to work for travel offices.
He said that the SCTA has developed new conditions and licensing requirements for travel and tourism agencies in cooperation with authorities such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the aim of providing legal and reliable agencies that operate according to specific procedures and clear contracts with airlines to ensure their credibility.
“The goal is to find regular and reliable agencies that operate according to specific procedures and clear contracts with airlines to ensure credibility,” Al-Eisa said.
He said that the commission regularly declares the names of travel and tourism agencies it has licensed on its official website and commits to displaying their licenses in prominent places to allow customers to avail themselves of genuine services and facilities.
The SCTA conducts regular inspection and monitoring visits to illegal travel offices in order to limit individual marketing practices and enforces penalties that may result in closing down the facilities, he said.
“Nevertheless, the commission expects people to play their part and safeguard their rights. Travelers should not deal with offices that are not licensed by the SCTA and should report any illegal offices to enable the Supreme Tourism Commission to take action against illegal offers and promotions,” he said.
Both citizens and expats can register their complaints or remarks along with evidence on toll-free number 19988 or through visiting the nearest SCTA branch or via the official SCTA website on www.scta.gov.sa.
The announcement came ahead of the the summer vacation, when a huge number of Saudis travel abroad.
According to a statistics, Saudis spent a whopping SR40 billion last summer alone, with Dubai remaining the top tourist destination.