Stricker regulations to boost safety in water activities

The Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta) has urged Sabah’s tourism authorities to revise policies and rules following a recent drowning incident involving a 25-year-old Chinese national at Mamutik Island.

The victim was part of a group of seven beginner divers supervised by three dive masters.

Satta Chairman Datuk Seri Winston Liaw criticised the current practice, suggesting a one-to-one policy where each tourist is paired with a dive master for enhanced safety.

Liaw emphasised that many tourists often ignore or are too excited to heed instructors’ warnings, which heightens risks.

He called for this precautionary measure to be incorporated into tourism laws with strict enforcement.

Understanding and adhering to the Tourism Act is vital for a safe and healthy industry, he said, noting that many authorities and agents violate section 5 (2) of the Act.

Licensed travel agents play a crucial role in advising and ensuring tourists’ safety.

Liaw warned that most accidents occur with unlicensed operators who offer cheaper, unauthorized services.

He highlighted cases of individuals using NGO bodies to arrange tours for Chinese tourists online, misleading them into thinking these were legitimate.

Liaw urged the Sabah Tourism Board to regularly engage with industry players to maintain lawful and safe operations.

He stressed the need for licensed and regulated tour operations to protect holidaymakers and uphold industry standards.

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