Tour guide loses license for forcing tourists to shop

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HONG KONG – A local tourist guide who compelled mainland visitors to make purchases with discourteous and threatening remarks had her license revoked, the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) announced Saturday.

A video clip showing the penalized tourist guide Li Hau-chun abusing mainland visitors on a coach for not spending enough on shopping was put on the web earlier and had aroused the attention of the media and prompted the local tourism industry watchdog TIC to carry out investigations on the issue.

The TIC said after a meeting on Saturday that its Compliance Committee decided to immediately revoke Li’s Tourist Guide Pass. A fine of 47,500 HK dollars (about 6,113 U.S. dollars) was imposed on Golden Win International Travel Services Limited, the travel agent which assigned Li to receive the tour group.

The committee considered Li had breached 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 put severe penalty on her.

As to the receiving agent Golden Win International Travel Services Limited, the committee unanimously decided to penalize it for having failed to carry out its duties to protect the interests of the tourists and ensure its tourist guide observed the Code of Conduct for Tourist Guides.

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.