Before the Journey
|How to Choose Your Travel Agent? |
Traditional travel agent
- According to the Travel Agents Ordinance, travel agents which carry on outbound or inbound travel business must first join the TIC and then obtain a Travel Agent's Licence. If, however, a travel agent does not carry on either of these two kinds of business, it may choose to join the TIC without obtaining a licence; in other words, a TIC member may not be a licensed travel agent. Therefore, when you want to buy outbound travel services or products, buy only from licensed travel agents.
- For detailed information about whether a travel agent has a licence, visit the website of the Travel Agents Registry or call it on (852)3151-7945 . Or you may go to this website's " Find a Travel Agent " section for such information or call the TIC on (852)2969-8188.
Online Travel Agent
- When you buy outbound travel services on the Internet, check whether the services are provided by licensed travel agents in Hong Kong.
- After making the payment on the Internet for a package tour organised by a licensed travel agent in Hong Kong, make sure you obtain a franked receipt from the licensed travel agent as soon as possible. If you do not buy from non-licensed travel agents in Hong Kong,, you will not have any franked receipts and are therefore not protected by the Travel Industry Compensation Fund and the Package Tour Accident Contingency Fund .
- Take account of the risk of buying travel services on the Internet, such as misuse or abuse of personal data, security of online payment and so on.
- Beware of any fake websites which may defraud you of your money and personal information.
|Protection under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund and the Package Tour Accident Contingency Fund Scheme |
- A levy equal to 0.15% of the outbound fare must be franked on all tour receipts issued by licensed travel agents in Hong Kong, including deposit, balance, full payment and temporary receipts, and any documents acting as receipts.
- Charter tours, familiarisation tours, air-plus-hotel packages, and cruises are all regarded as package tours, the receipts of which must be franked.
- Obtain the original franked receipt from the travel agent as soon as practicable after you have paid the outbound fare regardless of how you pay it. Check carefully whether all the details of the outbound tour have been set out in the receipt. If the payment is made on the Internet, ask the travel agent to send you a copy of the franked receipt immediately (e.g. by fax or email), and then get the original franked receipt from the travel agent as soon as possible.
- Outbound package tour travellers with receipts showing the payment of the outbound fare and the levy are protected by the Travel Industry Compensation Fund (TICF). In the unfortunate case that the travel agent goes bankrupt, affected travellers are entitled to receive from the TICF an ex gratia payment of up to 90% of the outbound fare paid.
- Outbound package tour travellers are also protected by the Package Tour Accident Contingency Fund Scheme . Financed by the TICF, the scheme renders financial relief of up to HK$300,000 to tour accident victims and their relatives.
- According to the law, a package tour refers to an outbound travel service which consists of two or all of the following three components: transport which commences in Hong Kong, accommodation and organised activities. As such, one-day tours that assemble and dismiss outside Hong Kong are not regarded as package tours under the definition of law and travel agents need not frank the tour receipts concerned, with the result that participants of this kind of one-day tours are not protected by the TICF and the Package Tour Accident Contingency Fund Scheme.
- Ask your family members or friends to keep all franked receipts for you before departure and bring a photocopy of the receipts with you on the tour.
- For details of the TICF, click here now.
|Pay Attention to the Particulars of Your Travel Services |
- Make sure you understand the services provided by the travel agent and ask for a list of such services.
- If you purchase a "travel package", you should ask your travel agent and try to have a clear understanding of the following:
- what kinds of services (e.g. cross-boundary transport) are included in the package; and
- the terms and conditions of the package, including those for cancellation by you such as the situations in which a refund will not be offered, and the fee charged and how it is calculated as well as the refund arrangement if a Red or Black Outbound Travel Alert is in force for your destination.
|Obtain information on tour activities|
- Obtain detailed information on the tour activities of your package tours before signing up for the tours, and request the travel agent to clearly explain to you the content and safety of the tour activities and any other issues you need to know.
|Take out Travel Insurance |
- Take out comprehensive travel insurance that suits your needs after understanding the tour activities and the cover of various travel insurance policies, such as whether you will be covered if a Red or Black Outbound Travel Alert is in force. If your package tour is cancelled, try to ask your insurance company to postpone the insurance policy.
- Check whether your travel insurance policy covers all activities of the tours (including self-pay activities), and clearly understand the insurance policy.
- Some outbound package tour fares have included group personal accident insurance (known in local parlance as "ping-on bou", meaning literally "safety insurance"), which generally only covers death and permanent disabilities incurred by accidents during the outbound trips but not such important areas as personal injuries, medical expenses and emergency assistance services.
|Pay heed to Security Bureau's outbound travel alerts |
- Check whether the Security Bureau has issued any Outbound Travel Alert for your destination before firming up your travel plan to ensure personal safety.
|Enquiries about Tour Cancellation and Others |
- If travel agents cancel a package tour destined for any destinations (except within Guangdong Province) prior to its scheduled departure, they must notify their clients of the cancellation at least seven days in advance excluding the departure date. Failing that, they must make a full refund of all money paid by their clients, and must also offer to pay 15% of the price of the relevant package tour but not exceeding HK$1,000 to their clients as compensation within three working days.
- If travel agents cancel a package tour destined for Guangdong Province prior to its scheduled departure, they must notify their clients of the cancellation at least one day in advance excluding the departure date. Failing that, they must make a full refund of all the money paid by their clients, and must also offer to pay 15% of the price of the relevant package tour but not exceeding HK$1,000 to their clients as compensation within three working days.
|Check upon Entry Requirements of Your Destination |
- Check the visa requirements of your destination with respective consulates in Hong Kong. You may also refer to the website of the Immigration Department, or call the Department on (852)2824-6111 .
- For information about news of disease outbreaks, vaccinations, health advice, etc, go to the website Hong Kong Travellers' Health Service launched by the Department of Health, or contact the Port Health Travel Health Centre on (852)2961-8840 or (852)2150-7235 for details.
|Be Mindful of Data Roaming Charges|
- Please click here for the points to note about data roaming charges issued by the Office of the Communications Authority.
- Tour escorts leading outbound tours must obtain a Tour Escort Pass issued by the TIC, bring their Pass along when performing their duties, and wear it on their chest when the tour group assembles for departure. For information about accredited tour escorts, go to the Outbound Tour Escort Directory .