The Outbound Committee of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) held an emergency meeting today and decided, with travellers' safety as its top priority, that all package tours which depart for Changsha-Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, on 2 February or before will be cancelled in accordance with Directive No. 143, which concerns cancellation of package tours for reasons beyond control. Participants of such tours may choose (1) to be refunded all the money paid (which includes tour fares, Airport Passenger Departure Tax, etc but excludes visa charges) after the deduction of a service fee of either HK$150 (for tours whose duration is five days or fewer) or HK$300 (for tours lasting for six or more days); and (2) to retain all the tour fares paid for six months without needing to pay any service fee.
As for all package tours to depart on 3 February or after, if they are cancelled because of flight cancellations as a result of bad weather, arrangements for the tour participants will also be made in accordance with Directive No. 143.
According to the TIC, there are about 30 Changsha-Zhangjiajie package tours scheduled to depart on 2 February or before, with a total of some 700 travellers being affected. It is expected that those tour groups now stranded in Changsha and Zhangjiajie will return to Hong Kong in several days, and they are all well taken care of by the travel agents concerned. If travellers have run into any problem, they may contact the TIC for assistance.
The TIC will require travel agents to notify it of any traffic problems their package tours have met during the trip so that it can relay the message to other travel agents.
The TIC has already written to relevant tourism organisations and airlines in the hope that travellers and travel agents can be provided with the assistance they need.