Tour agencies expecting Easter holiday rush
Tour agencies are expecting an Easter boom as travellers plan holidays to avoid the peak period during the handover.
Some agencies have reported full bookings for Easter and the industry's regulatory body has banned surcharges.
Agencies say most of the air tickets to Hong Kong during the handover period have been sold, forcing travellers to bring their itineraries forward.
Andy Chan, a customer services manager at Kwan's Travel Services, which specialises in Southeast Asian tours, said: 'Our sales staff have warned clients that, if they want to travel in June, they may not be able to secure the return air tickets - unless they can delay returning until August. Airline companies have already told us to confirm our June bookings.' The Travel Industry Council issued a directive to agencies last week, banning surcharges for tours departing between March 23 and April 2.
The rule has no legal force but the council may withdraw the licences of agencies that refuse to comply.
The council's new executive director, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, will give priority to protecting travellers' interests.
The Consumer Council received 845 complaints about travel agencies last year, 7.5 per cent up on 1995.