SINGAPORE - Local tour agency CS Travel, which was involved in a group of Singaporean holidaymakers stranded in Europe over the New Year period due to bad weather, has had its licence suspended by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
The suspension lasts from March 18 to April 17.
During this time, CS Travel is not allowed to take on new travel bookings but is still required to carry out its current obligations to existing customers.
In a press release on Tuesday (March 22), STB said that, since 2013, it received a dozen consumer complaints against the tour agency, which were related to CS Travel's "lack of professionalism and poor services provided".
"Complaints received were mainly on the poor service of CS Travel's staff in relation to inadequate handling of customer complaints, tour cancellations, non-notification of material tour changes and delays in providing refunds," said Ms Ong Ling Lee, STB's director of travel agents and tourist guides.
One of the complaints that STB considered involved a group of 14 Singaporean and Malaysian holidaymakers touring with CS Travel last July.
Their trip to Hokkaido in Japan was delayed due to a typhoon and, as a result, they spent three days there instead of the planned six. The travellers claimed that when their flights were disrupted, they were not given the option by CS Travel to cancel their trip.
Another complaint involved 26 Singaporeans travelling with the same agency in Europe who had their flights delayed due to bad weather, leaving them stranded in Germany and Turkey for a few days over the New Year period.
Ms Ruth Lim, public relations director and spokesman for CS Travel, said: "CS Travel is currently serving its month-long suspension over a complaint case that occurred last year. We are still taking tour groups out of Singapore and taking in balance payments from our customers.
"Business is as per normal, the only activity we are unable to do during this period is the taking in of new bookings. We have since improved and would like to assure all that this will not occur again."
In explaining the licence suspension, Ms Ong said that CS Travel had contravened regulations 10 and 11 of the Travel Agents Regulations.
Regulation 10 prohibits false or misleading advertising of tours, while regulation 11 maps out a tour agency's obligations to inform its clients of tour changes and to offer clients the choice to cancel the tour booking with a refund.
For the latest list of licensed travel agents in Singapore, visit the Travel Related Users' System website at trust.yoursingapore.com