WorldVentures skirts Malaysian tourist license, still a pyramid scheme
Last April the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture declared WorldVentures was operating illegally in the country.
This was based on the fact that, at the time, ‘the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (had not) issue(d) a license to WorldVentures‘.
WorldVentures still doesn’t have a license, but has instead convinced the Domestic Trade Cooperation and Consumerism Minister they don’t need one.
WorldVentures’ business model itself has nothing to do with travel.
Speaking to the Malaysian press after he officiated the opening of WorldVentures first Malaysian office on July 12th, Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin stated;
The problem is, is it not so much the business itself.
We in this Ministry, we are actually monitoring all those people who are licensed to do this kind of business.
World Ventures’ business model sees it sell memberships, which offer access to travel discounts.
World Ventures affiliates do earn a small commission if third-party travel is booked through an affiliate’s replicated portal, however the majority of commissions are paid out on the recruitment of new World Ventures affiliates.
In Malaysia, WorldVentures have partnered with local company SkyZone Travel Sdn Bhd, who do hold a tourism license.
Reiterating this core business model focus, WorldVentures Global Sales president John McKillip told Malaysian media
the company did not sell travel-based products, but sold memberships which had access to travel packages.
“Our product is not travel packages. Our product is merely the (WorldVentures) membership.”
To what extent the Ministry of Tourism and Culture investigated World Ventures’ business model, flow of revenue and core business practices is unclear.
In a 2013-2014 regulatory investigation, the Norwegian Gaming Board found WorldVentures to be a pyramid scheme.
The finding was primarily based on the finding that ‘revenues almost exclusively come from recruiting members and not the sale of travel residence.‘
Despite the likelihood of similar method of revenue generation in Malaysia, Zainudin and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture don’t seem to be concerned.
Zainudin meanwhile contends that, despite having a business model centered on affiliate recruitment, he ‘see(s) great potential in WorldVentures and also for Malaysians‘.