The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) announced today (4 September) that its Compliance Committee decided to immediately revoke the Tourist Guide Pass of a tourist guide who had compelled mainland visitors to make purchases and made discourteous remarks to them, and to impose a fine of HK$47,500 on Golden Win International Travel Services Limited, the travel agent which had assigned her to receive the tour group.
The Compliance Committee met today to deliberate the case in which the tourist guide and the travel agent were suspected of violating TIC rules. The Committee considered that the tourist guide, who had made discourteous and threatening remarks to the visitors on the tour coach for not spending enough on shopping with a view to compelling them to make purchases, had breached paragraphs 4(i), 4(ii), 6(i), 9(iii) and 9(iv) under the “Tourist guides’ professional ethics” section of the Code of Conduct for Tourist Guides. By reason of the seriousness of the case, a previous violation of a similar nature by the tourist guide and the enormous damage inflicted by the incident on the image and reputation of Hong Kong tourism, the Committee unanimously decided to severely penalise the tourist guide by immediately revoking her Tourist Guide Pass.
As to the receiving agent Golden Win International Travel Services Limited, the Committee unanimously decided to impose a fine of HK$47,500 on it for having failed to carry out its duties to protect the interests of the tourists, ensure that its tourist guide observed the Code of Conduct for Tourist Guides and register the tour confirmation agreement of the mainland inbound tour concerned, which were in violation of paragraphs 2(1)(a) of the General Code of Conduct for TIC Members, paragraph 3(6)(a) of the Code of Business Practice on Inbound Travel Service and Directive No. 168 respectively.
Both the tourist guide and Golden Win International Travel Services may appeal to the TIC’s Appeal Board within 14 days after receiving the notification of their penalties; and even if the tourist guide files an appeal, her Tourist Guide Pass will remain invalid pending the appeal.
The Compliance Committee, its convenor an independent director, has 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.