The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) stressed at the press conference held today (31 December 2015) that it will step up protection for inbound group visitors during the New Year holiday period (1-3 January 2016).
Various measures have been put in place by the TIC in order to protect the interests of inbound group visitors and industry members such as tourist guides. For example:
- Tour coaches which transport inbound group visitors are required to display the Travel Agents Licence numbers of their travel agents and the tour codes of the tour groups concerned so that the visitors can verify whether the Hong Kong travel agents are licensed.
- Tourist guides responsible for receiving inbound tour groups are required to obtain the Tourist Guide Pass issued by the TIC, and wear it on their chest when performing their duties.
- Travel agents are required to immediately distribute the itineraries through tourist guides to each inbound group visitors from mainland China on their arrival in Hong Kong. And the itineraries need to contain detailed information about meals, accommodation, transport, sightseeing, entertainment and shopping arrangements.
- From 1 January 2016, the TIC will tighten the rules of its Refund Protection Scheme (Registered Shops) for Inbound Tour Group Shoppers so that any registered shops found by the courts to have violated the Trade Descriptions Ordinance and other laws will have their registration revoked if the violations are very serious. Under the Scheme, inbound group visitors from the mainland who have made purchases at those registered shops are entitled to full refunds if they make refund requests within six months after purchase and their purchased items are undamaged and without wear and tear.
Apart from the above, the TIC will increase the number of spot checks at tourist attractions and registered shops during the New Year holiday period.