China considering punishments for tourists going on illegal bargain tours
- Posted by Daniel Meesak
- On 28th October 2015
- bargain, china, hong kong, legislation, regulation, shopping, tourism, tours
So-called bargain tours have been a common element in tourism for many Chinese customers throughout the last years. Essentially, bargain tours are tours to destinations – many to Hong Kong – sold below the market price, with the catch that the tourists are forced to purchase goods to a minimum value in shops chosen by the tour guide whom receives a hefty commission on all purchases.
The Chinese National Tourism Administration has already cracked down on the practice and put punishments in place for travel agents who organise such tours, but it has failed to eradicate the practice and is now considering to dissuade customers from going on tours with prices that are too good to be true. The strategy that is being considered is to go after Chinese tourists who sign fake contracts that comply with law on the paper, but for trips that are in reality heavily discounted and includes forced shopping.
The practice it not limited to foreign destinations, but also prevalent in domestic tourism. Peng Zhikai, the leader of the inspection department in Yunnan province in China says to China Daily that “Forcing tourists to shop is a serious problem in Yunnan province”, and pointed out that five-day tours of Yunnan are offered by multiple travel agencies for only 1,300 yuan (€185). “That does not even cover the airline cost, which is estimated at 1,900 yuan”, Peng told China Daily, describing tourists as pressured to buy jade and silver souvenirs during the trips to compensate for the bargain-level price.
The increased attention on bargain tours came after a deadly event in Hong Kong, where a Chinese tourist mediating an argument between his tour guide and two fellow tour participants that had refused to shop. The 54 year-old was allegedly beaten up outside a jewellery store and passed away from a heart attack last week in Hong Kong.
Source: Voice of America