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Codes and Regulations

Code of Advertising Practice for TIC Members

Code of Advertising Practice for TIC Members

1. Objectives
(1) To ensure that members of the public receive clear and accurate information through advertising media to enable them to make a decision in choosing the service and/or purchasing a package tour from members of the TIC.
2. Principles
(1) The general principle which governs all members' advertising is that it shall be legal, clean, honest and truthful in all advertising media in Hong Kong.
(2) Advertising material shall be clearly identifiable as an advertisement and bear the name of the member and its Travel Agent's Licence number.
(3) This Code is to be applied as the minimum standard observed by all TIC members.
(4) The word "advertisement" means either paid or unpaid for communication, whether in cash or in kind, addressed to the public or a section of it, the purpose of which is to influence the opinions or behaviour of those to whom it is addressed with a view to advancing the sale of any particular product or service of any member, and which includes information accessed via electronic means by the public or a section of it (including Internet users).
(5) Advertisements shall contain nothing which is in breach of the law of Hong Kong nor omit anything which the law requires.
(6) Advertisements shall contain nothing which is in breach of the General Code of Conduct for TIC Members, other Codes and Directives of the TIC nor omit anything for which they require.
3. Content of Advertisement
(1) Advertisements shall not unfairly attack or discredit other competitors, competitive products, advertisers, or advertisements, whether directly or by implication.
(2) Advertisements shall be factually true, and shall not be misleading. No advertisement shall contain any exaggerated claim, direct or implied.
(3) All descriptive claims and comparisons which relate to matters of ascertainable fact shall be capable of appropriate substantiation.
(4) No advertisement shall offend against good taste or decency or be offensive to public feeling.
(5) (Revoked)
4. Objectionable Advertising
(1) If the advertising expenses of a member are to be considered excessive, and in the opinion of the Board are contrary to the public interest and/or the interest of the travel industry as a whole, the TIC shall have the right to conduct a thorough investigation. (Note: The rates used in compiling the advertising expenses for all members will be in accordance with current market rates.)
(2) If a member is found engaging in any advertising activities or practice which in the opinion of the Board are contrary to the interests of the travel industry as a whole, the TIC shall have the right to take appropriate disciplinary action.
5. Package Tour Brochures
(1) Package tour brochures refer to any physical or electronic documents prepared by members which explain to consumers the transport, accommodation and/or itinerary arrangements of package tours and which are intended to be used by members for advertising purposes, such as itineraries or leaflets of package tours.
(2) All package tour brochures shall contain clear, comprehensive and accurate information to enable consumers to make an informed decision in their choice of suitable package tours.
(3) A package tour brochure shall include the following information, which shall be provided to consumers before they sign up for the package tour (for items (d), (g) to (j) below, if the information concerned is not included in the brochure but stated in other documents about the tour or on the member's website, the brochure shall clearly specify where it can be found):
(a) the product name, and the company name and the licence number of the member (the licence number shall not be smaller than the smallest print of the brochure);
(b) the major modes of transport between the place of departure and the destination (such as ship, coach, train, aircraft, etc; if air transport is involved, the name, logo or abbreviation of the carrier and whether the tour group will travel on direct, non-direct or one-way direct flights shall be specified) and whether they are chartered, scheduled or non-scheduled;
(c) the destination and the itinerary;
(d) the date and place of departure, the places of return and dismissal, and the activities for the package tour including self-pay activities (if any);
(e) the type and name of accommodation and the arrangements for meals;
(f) any additionally provided facilities or special arrangements;
(g) the procedures for booking, the contractual conditions for making and cancelling bookings, and the responsibilities of the member and its customers;
(h) the tour fare and other related charges (such as taxes, fuel surcharges, handling fees, etc);
(i) the conditions for adjusting the tour fare and other related charges, the provisions relating to the deadline and methods of payment, and the consequences for not making payment in accordance with such provisions;
(j) information on travel insurance if it is included in the tour fare;
(k) the package tour service charges (if applicable);
(l) arrangements of the accompanying tour escort (if applicable); and
(m) any other information as required by rules of the TIC.
(4) All package tour brochures shall be registered with the TIC two working days before their dispatch or dissemination, or the promotion or sale of the tours therein, for which members, if requested, shall provide relevant supporting documents as proof. Members shall not dispatch or disseminate the brochures, or promote or sell the tours therein until the registration is completed.
(5) After registration of package tour brochures, if the dates and places of departure, the places of return and dismissal, the major modes of transport between the places of departure and the destinations, carriers, accommodation, itineraries, activities (self-pay or not), attractions, arrangements for meals or any other items (except for the tour fares) relating to the package tours are to be changed, then members shall re-register such information with the TIC, and shall not dispatch or disseminate the revised brochures, or promote or sell the tours therein until the registration is completed.
6. Advertising Principle for Affiliate Members
(1) No Affiliate Member shall be allowed to advertise the sale of any package tour except in the event that his name is included in an advertisement placed by a wholesaler.
7. Infringement and Enforcement
(1) If a member is found to be in breach of this Code, the TIC Executive Office shall notify the member involved to withdraw any offending advertisement immediately. The case will be submitted to the Compliance Committee, which 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.