Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) has warned Kenyans and foreigners booking holidays to be vigilant and use only accredited agents in their planning.
KATA Chief Executive Mr Nicanor Sabula noted that the high season is drawing closer which is period that many scammers posing as travel agents take advantage of and con unsuspecting travellers.
His remarks came in days after reports of con artists swindling hundreds of tourists from various parts of the world were ran in a local daily.
The news article averred that the conmen create attractive packages from their websites complete with glowing reviews that end up hoodwinking unsuspecting tourists.
One such victim, the newspaper read, was Mr Chen Dong Yuan, a 51-year-old Chinese engineer. The victims pay in advance and end up stranded when they travel.
Mr Sabula noted that KATA has on several occasions received similar reports from travellers who have been swindled by fake agents.
“Unfortunately, our hands are tied as most of these agencies that run con games are not registered and we have no avenue for seeking redress for the travellers. Such cases should be reported to the police,” he said.
He urged people seeking to book vacations to do so through an accredited travel agent as they adhere to a strict code of conduct.
This week, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Mr Najib Balala put on notice unlicensed operators defrauding tourists. He stated that his ministry is investigating cases where tourists have lost money after being lured for holiday in Kenya.
“Our attention has been drawn to media reports on defrauding of tourists, wishing to visit Magical Kenya, by unscrupulous and bogus tour agents. Indeed, several such reports, like the ones that appeared in our local dailies this weekend, have reached our offices,” he said.
KATA is mandated to promote highest code of professional standards for its members while dealing with their clients as the National Association representing travel agents in Kenya.