China issues travel advisory after video shows tourists being forced to shop


BEIJING – “An undated video clip currently circulating on the Internet shows a Hong Kong tour guide allegedly abusing a group of visitors from the Chinese mainland and forcing them to shop, triggering a backlash from the mainland public,” the Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

China’s National Tourism Administration has issued an advisory on travel to Hong Kong after the video aired.

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A former British colony, Hong Kong attracts hordes of Chinese tourists, many of them on shopping trips for luxury or brand-name goods that are more expensive on the mainland.

Budget Chinese tour packages often try to pad out profits by taking tourists to shops which return a percentage of the sales revenue to the agency. The practice is common both in mainland China and on overseas tours offered by Chinese agencies.

Xinhua cited an unnamed spokesman for the tourism administration as saying the regulator was “concerned” about the measures taken by Hong Kong tourism authority over such practices. It had ordered a probe into the case by regulators and mainland travel agencies.

Last month, Hong Kong tourism authorities pledged to tighten rules to protect travelers from forced shopping or visits to designated shopping stops, Xinhua said.

A 65-year-old tourist from Hunan Province died from a heart attack in Hong Kong in May, after arguing with a tour guide over being forced to shop, Xinhua said.