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Singapore to blacklist retailers who cheat tourists
( 2003-09-17 17:19) (Agencies)

Singapore will start publicly shaming retailers who cheat tourists, naming the offenders in brochures, maps and an official Web site, officials said.

Retail-related grouses made up more than half of the 800 complaints from the 8 million tourists who visited this tropical island last year, the Singapore Tourism Board said in a statement Wednesday.

The board started its offensive Wednesday by naming a camera shop in the heart of the city's main shopping district, Orchard Road.

The government received 40 complaints against the store last year and 15 this year, and has helped an Australian tourist file a civil suit against the shop, the statement said.

It didn't specify the complaints against the store. Tourism board officials were not immediately available for comment.

The campaign will swing into full gear next month, the statement said.

The board did not say what criteria it would use in blacklisting stores, but said it would set up a telephone hot line for visitors to report bad experiences.

Unscrupulous retailers will damage the city-state's reputation if they are allowed to continue unethical practices, tourism board Chief Executive Lim Neo Chian said.

Singapore is known for its strict law enforcement and tough social controls. Tourism is a vital industry in the resource-poor city-state.

Since June, the board has warned more than 50 retailers that they could be blacklisted, the statement said.

The board said it also would offer incentives to retailers who treat tourists well.

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