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Codes and Regulations

Code of Business Practice on Outbound Package Tours

Code of Business Practice on Outbound Package Tours

1. Objectives
(1) To ensure that the public receives the best possible service from travel agents.
(2) To maintain and enhance the reputation, standing and good name of the TIC and its members.
(3) To encourage initiative and enterprise in the belief that properly regulated competitive trading by and between travel agents will best serve public interest and the well-being of the travel industry.
(4) To ensure that public interest be predominant in all considerations of the standards of competitive trading between travel agents.
(5) To encourage the growth and development of the travel industry consistently with the above objectives.
2. Principles
(1) This Code is designed to regulate activities between TIC members and the public and between members themselves in relation to outbound package tours.
(2) This Code recognises the need to regulate the operating standards and sales procedure of outbound package tours generally and to regulate competitive commercial practices that are considered by the TIC to be in conflict with public interest.
(3) This Code embodies measures for enforcing the standards and procedures which a member shall observe under the authority of the TIC.
3. Conduct between Travel Agents and the Public
(1) Registration of Outbound Package Tour Brochures (see Directive No. 228)
(2) Advertising
All advertising and promotion by a member shall comply with the Code of Advertising Practice for Travel Agents and Directives issued by the Board from time to time.
(3) Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities
(a) "Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities" shall define the extent of the responsibilities as well as the liabilities of a member towards clients and shall be so designed that they can be easily read and understood.
(b) "Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities" shall prominently indicate the circumstances in which and the conditions on which surcharges may be imposed on clients.
(c) "Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities" shall clearly indicate a member's general policy both in the event of his cancelling a package tour or in the event of his altering part of a package tour.
(d) "Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities" shall clearly state the amount of, or the basis for calculating the cancellation fees which clients shall be liable to incur as well as the terms and conditions under which clients shall be liable to incur such fees.
(e) A member shall disseminate and interpret his "Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities" to every client on or before confirmation of the booking or produce such information to the clients on request.
(f) "Conditions of Tour Booking and Responsibilities" shall conform to all relevant provisions of the Code.
(4) Package Tour Service Charge
A member shall handle the package tour service charge according to Directive No. 224.
(5) Surcharges
(a) A member shall confirm all tour fares 28 days before the commencement date of all package tours except in circumstances described in subsection (9) below or where the TIC considers as appropriate.
(b) A member shall be entitled to impose an additional charge on his clients before full and final payment of a package tour has been made if:
(i) there shall be an increase in the operation costs resulting from variations in the rate of exchange exceeding three per cent;
(ii) there shall be an increase in operation costs due to unforeseeable circumstances with reasonable grounds and the additional charge is proportionate to such increase.
(c) If a member is entitled to impose a surcharge under paragraph (a) or (b) above, the clients affected shall have the option of paying the surcharge or cancelling their package tours and receiving all money paid within seven working days.
(d) A member shall inform his clients promptly of his decision to impose a surcharge.
(6) (see Directive No. 228)
(7) Levy
  (see Directive Nos. 234 and 235)
(8) Cancellation of Package Tours for Reasons Beyond Control of Travel Agents
(see Directive No. 223)
(9) Material Alterations to Package Tours for Reasons Beyond Control of Travel Agents
(a) A member shall endeavour not to make any material alteration to a package tour.
(b) If a member makes a material alteration to a package tour prior to its commencement for reasons beyond his control and in which case it results in increasing the operation costs, he shall inform his clients without delay and shall give his clients the choice of either accepting the alteration with a reasonable adjustment in the tour price, or of receiving a full refund of all money paid within seven working days. However, if it results in reducing the operation costs, he shall offer a refund to his clients proportionate to such reduction in costs within seven working days.
(c) If a member makes a material alteration to a package tour after its commencement for reasons beyond his control, he may impose any additional charge to his clients as a result of an increase in operation costs; however, if such material alteration results in reducing the operation costs, he shall offer a reasonable refund to his clients proportionate to such reduction in costs within one month after completion of the package tour.
(10) Definition of "Reasons Beyond Control"
(see Directive No. 177)
(11) Cancellation and Alteration for Other Reasons
(a) (see Directive No. 239)
(b) (see Directive No. 239)
(c) If a member cancels a package tour prior to its commencement for reasons other than those stated in subsection (10), he shall make refund applications to banks for credit card payments of tour fares within three working days.
(d) If a member makes a material alteration to a package tour after its commencement for reasons other than those stated in subsection (10), he shall not impose any additional charge to his clients as a result of an increase in operation costs; however, if such material alteration results in reducing the operation costs, he shall offer reasonable refund to his clients proportionate to such reduction.
(12) Visa Charges
(see Directive No. 79)
(13) Tour Escort
Tour escorts leading outbound tours must hold a valid Tour Escort Pass.