Hong Kong Stiffens Regulation Of Inbound Tourism

The Hong Kong Tourism Commission and The HK Travel Industry Council have announced they will comprehensively supervise the region's inbound travel services.

Philip WH YUNG, JP, Hong Kong's Commissioner for Tourism, told local media that The Travel Industry Council has set up a special team to review various operational aspects of packaged tours from mainland China. Yung said that the SAR government will coordinate the process and work with the mainland's tourism departments on the issue.

Yung stressed that most travel professionals in Hong Kong provide a good service. He said that the SAR government is fully confident of cracking down on illegal operations so that the good reputation of Hong Kong tourism will not be ruined by a few unscrupulous members of the industry.

Michael Wu, the chairman of The Travel Industry Council, said that the council has decided to instruct the relevant committees to thoroughly study the introduction of tightened measures to regulate the inbound industry with regard to travel agents, tourist guides, registered shops, and the publication of information. Wu stated that a whole set of measures will be released at the end of this month, but a detailed report is expected to come out in three months.

In recent years, more and more tourists from mainland China are visiting Hong Kong. However, since 2009 there has been an increasing number of complaints from mainland tourists on the travel services provided by Hong Kong travel professionals. Statistics from The Travel Industry Council show that Hong Kong received 173 complaints from mainland tourists from January to May 15, 2010, which was an increase of 65% over the number in the same period of the previous year.

Chinese media has recently carried reports of a tourist from Hunan province who died of a heart attack that was allegedly caused by being coerced to shop while in Hong Kong.