Huge rise in Easter tour prices

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 March, 1998, 12:00am

Overseas tours will cost up to 54 per cent more during Easter following a decision by an operators' body to fix minimum prices.

The new surcharge, effective between April 8 and 10, could add $1,500 to $6,000 to the average cost of a four-day tour to Japan.

Tours to Southeast Asian destinations will see rises of up to $4,300 for a four-day tour - or 54 per cent up, according to some agencies.

The Travel Industry Council recommended the minimum rates to avoid price wars, which it said could lead to low-quality tours. Cheap prices often meant cheap tours, the council said.

There were reports of travellers on a $990 four-day package to Taipei complaining of being dumped in cockroach-infested guest rooms.

Association for Tourists' Rights chairman Chow Yick-hay yesterday accused the council of taxing tourists to pay for the industry's own obligation to provide reasonable services. 'Last month the council said it would ban agencies from changing prices more than once a month and now they come up with another plan.' The proposal to freeze prices for a month was turned down after most agencies complained it was too inflexible.