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Codes and Regulations

General Code of Conduct for TIC Members

General Code of Conduct for TIC Members

1. Introduction
    
 (1)Members of the TIC are governed by the Articles of Association which makes reference to this Code of Conduct, the object of the latter being to promote a high professional standard of ethical business practice.
    
 (2)This General Code of Conduct and other Codes of the TIC represent the minimum standards which TIC members are required to follow in all business transactions and practice.
    
 (3)TIC members shall be required to answer questions and all correspondence from the TIC concerning their conduct in accordance with the Articles of Association and any Codes promptly and efficiently. Members are liable to be penalised if their conduct is found to be in contravention of any Codes or otherwise inconsistent with the objectives of the TIC.
    
2. Professional Principles and Ethics
    
 (1)To maintain a high standard of professional practice, TIC members shall observe the following guidelines:
    
  (a)A member shall faithfully carry out the duties which he undertakes, and shall have proper regard for the interests of those who engage him or seek his services.
    
  (b)A member shall endeavour to contribute through his work to the advancement of the industry.
    
  (c) A member shall not knowingly undertake any commitment beyond his resources or beyond his ability.
    
  (d) A member shall avoid actions and situations inconsistent with his legal or contractual obligations or likely to raise doubts about his integrity.
    
  (e)A member shall not maliciously endeavour to discredit other members of the TIC.
    
  (f)A member shall abide by this General Code of Conduct and other Codes which will be promulgated from time to time by the TIC Board and amended by the TIC Board from time to time.
    
 (2) The TIC upholds the principle of fair trading and an honourable standard of professional ethics. The framework for a standard of business ethics is provided by the Code of Business Practice on Outbound Package Tours, the Code of Advertising Practice for TIC Members and the Code of Business Practice on Inbound Travel Service. A member shall also observe the relevant laws of Hong Kong, such as the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and the Supply of Service (Implied Terms) Ordinance.
   
3.Conduct Between Travel Agents and the Public
   
 (1)Standard of Service
   
  (a)A member shall maintain a high standard in serving the public and shall comply with all relevant statutory requirements.
    
  (b)A member shall make every effort to ensure that accurate and impartial information is provided to enable his clients to exercise an informed judgement in making their choice of services.
    
  (c) A member shall make every effort to ensure that his clients are not sold travel arrangements (e.g. package tours, tickets and hotel accommodation) incompatible with their individual requirements.
    
 (2)Advertising and Promotion
    
  All advertising and promotion by a member shall comply with the Code of Advertising Practice for TIC Members and Directives issued by the Board from time to time.
    
 (3)Alterations to Travel Arrangements
    
  When alterations are made to travel arrangements for which bookings have already been accepted, a member shall inform his clients immediately after he is advised of the situation and, if appropriate, act as an intermediary between his principals and clients in any subsequent negotiations.
    
 (4) Booking Conditions
    
  (a)A member shall draw the attention of his clients to conditions of booking, cancellation of booking and other published conditions applicable to their travel arrangements prior to collection of payment.
    
  (b)A member shall ensure that his conditions of booking are not in conflict with this Code.
    
 (5)Staff
    
  A member shall endeavour to familiarise himself and his staff with all the provisions in the TIC's Articles of Association, Codes of Conduct, Directives, rules and by-laws to ensure that they shall be able to impart accurate information to his clients.
    
 (6)Booking Forms
    
  A member shall ensure that booking forms for travel arrangements where applicable are completed correctly in every detail. Other booking requirements by his clients shall be shown as appropriate.
    
 (7) Travel Documents
    
  Upon request of his clients, a member shall check all travel documents (e.g. passports) of his clients and explain to them any points requiring clarification.
    
 (8)Visa and Health Requirements
    
  Upon request of his clients, a member shall:
    
  (a)inform his clients of the health requirements which are necessary for the journey to be undertaken;
    
  (b)so far as is practicable advise his clients of visa requirements which are necessary for the journey to be undertaken; and
    
  (c) wherever possible assist his clients with any other ancillary services which they may request and which are not covered by the booking.
    
 (9)Disputes and Complaints
    
  (a)In the event of a dispute with his clients, a member shall make every effort to reach an amicable and speedy solution with such clients.
    
  (b) When complaints are of such a nature that reference to the principal is necessary, a member shall endeavour to act as an intermediary to bring about a satisfactory conclusion.
    
  (c)In the event that a member and his clients fail to reach an amicable solution in respect of any dispute or complaints, either party may submit a written request for detailed examination of the case to the Consumer Relations Committee, which shall have the full discretion whether to respond to such request and the member concerned shall abide by the decision on the case.
    
  (d)Any member desirous of appealing against the Consumer Relations Committee's decision shall within 14 days (from the day following the date of notification of the decision from the TIC Executive Office) give notice of appeal or apply for extending the period for lodging an appeal for an additional period of not more than 14 days in writing to the TIC. The notice of appeal shall be given with an appeal fee of HK$1,000. The notice of appeal or application for extension of the appeal period shall be addressed to "TIC Executive Director".
    
 (10) Transaction and Correspondence
    
  Transactions with clients shall be treated as confidential and correspondence shall be dealt with promptly and efficiently by a member.
    
 (11)Notice to Customers
    
  A member shall display his Travel Agent's Licence or a copy thereof in a prominent position at each of his office.
    
4.Conduct between Travel Agents and Tour Operators
    
 (1)Advertising and Promotions
    
  All advertising or other publicity initiated by a travel agent on behalf of a tour operator shall be in a form and manner agreed with by the tour operator.
    
 (2)Collection of Tour Payment
    
  When booking travel arrangements, a travel agent shall forward the booking form, if appropriate, together with the deposit or credit voucher within the agreed period between tour operators and the travel agent. In addition, a travel agent shall endeavour to collect the balance due and forward it within such time limit as agreed between tour operators and the travel agent.
    
 (3) Tickets, Documentation and Accounts
    
  A travel agent shall settle all tour operators' accounts without delay and in accordance with their agency agreements or booking conditions whichever is applicable. It shall be the duty of the tour operators to pass on without undue delay to the travel agent confirmation of accounts and all other documents as well as providing any other relevant information appertaining to the package tour booked, to enable the agent to transmit these to the clients within a reasonable period before departure.
    
 (4)Refund
    
  Travel agents and tour operators shall settle refunds without undue delay in accordance with subsections (5), (8), (9), (11) and (12) of section 3 of the Code of Business Practice on Outbound Package Tours.
    
 (5)Incentives
    
  Any incentives shall only be offered by a tour operator through the authorised representative of a travel agent and shall not be offered direct to a travel agent's staff without the consent of such authorised representative.
    
5. Infringement and Enforcement
    
 (1) If any infringement of this General Code of Conduct for TIC Members or other Codes is alleged against a member, the facts shall be reported to the TIC Executive Office for preliminary investigation.
    
 (2)The member against whom the allegation has been made shall provide, at the request of the TIC Executive Office, such further information or documents as may be required within such a period as may be specified.
    
 (3)If, after preliminary investigation, the facts alleged against the member appear to constitute a prima facie infringement of this Code or other Codes, the facts shall be submitted to the Compliance Committee.
    
 (4) The Compliance Committee shall consist of not less than five directors from the Board appointed from time to time by the Board.
    
 (5)If the Compliance Committee finds that a member has infringed this General Code of Conduct or other Codes, the Committee may in the exercise of its absolute discretion penalise the member in accordance with Articles 11(3)(a) and 11(3)(b) of the Articles of Association.
    
6. Appeal
    
 (1) Any member desirous of appealing against the Compliance Committee's decision shall within 14 days (from the day following the date of notification of the decision from the TIC Executive Office) give notice of appeal or apply for extending the period for lodging an appeal for an additional period of not more than 14 days in writing to the TIC. The notice of appeal shall be given with an appeal fee of HK$1,000. Even if the notice of appeal is given, the fine (if any) shall be paid within 14 days (from the date of giving of the appeal notice). The notice of appeal or application for extension of the appeal period shall be addressed to "TIC Executive Director".
    
 (2) If the Appeal Board upholds the imposition of a penalty which relates to the Registrar of Travel Agents' power or ability to grant, refuse to grant, revoke or suspend a member's licence, the member may further appeal to the Registrar.
    
 (3)A member expelled shall have the right to re-apply for membership after the expiration of a period to be specified by the TIC.