The Compliance Committee of the TIC held a panel meeting today (19 June) to deliberate a case where a visitor from the mainland died after arguing with a tourist guide in late May. The panel meeting unanimously decided that the TIC membership of Win’s Travel Agency Limited, the travel agent responsible for providing reception services, would be terminated, a penalty subject to endorsement by a full meeting of the Compliance Committee in accordance with established procedures.
The panel meeting of the Compliance Committee unanimously decided to impose a fine of HK$7,000 on Win’s Travel Agency for having assigned a non-Tourist Guide Pass holder to receive inbound visitors, which was in breach of Directive No. 111. Apart from that, the panel meeting unanimously decided to severely penalise the travel agent and terminate its TIC membership for having failed to verify that the tourist guide held a valid Tourist Guide Pass and to carry out its duties to protect the interests of the visitor, and for having taken actions likely to raise doubts about its integrity, which were in breach of paragraphs 2(1)(a) and 2(1)(d) of the General Code of Conduct for TIC Members, and which gravely damaged the reputation and image of Hong Kong tourism.
The Compliance Committee will convene a full meeting on 21 June to endorse the penalty of revoking the TIC membership of Win’s Travel Agency. If the full meeting endorses the penalty, it may file an appeal with the TIC’s Appeal Board within 14 days after receiving the notification of its penalty, and its TIC membership will remain valid pending the appeal.
Since the TIC has found during its investigation into the case that Win’s Travel Agency is suspected of using and producing false documents, the case will be referred to the police for follow-up action.
According to established procedures of the Compliance Committee, any one of the following four penalties imposed by its panel meetings must be endorsed by a full meeting: issuance of a reprimand to a travel agent; imposition of the requirement on a travel agent to undertake to comply with TIC rules (failing which termination of membership will ensue); suspension of membership; and termination of membership.
The Compliance Committee, its convenor an independent director, has a majority of non-trade members, and its panel meetings must also have a majority of non-trade members. The Appeal Board is composed of trade and non-trade members. Each of its meetings must have five members, three of whom must come from outside the trade, with the meeting chairman being a non-trade member.