Tourism board warning over marketing company

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 12:00am

A publicity campaign is to be launched by the Hong Kong Tourism Board warning against a marketing company.

The board says E.C. Marketing has been rude and unprofessional to interviewees while using the board's name in an effort to obtain personal details.

The case has been referred to police after efforts by the board to trace the company failed.

A spokeswoman for the board said it was the first time that its name had been misused. The first complaint was received in September.

The spokeswoman said an interviewer told respondents to a survey that it was being carried out on the individual visitor scheme for mainland travellers and on the local economy.

Respondents were asked questions such as, 'Do you think the individual traveller scheme contributes to the Hong Kong economy?' and 'Do you think the economy has improved?' But interviewers then abruptly changed their approach and asked questions such as, 'Are you married?' or 'Are you in a relationship' and 'How much do you earn a month?'

The spokeswoman said: 'The interviewers were very unprofessional and even lashed out at respondents who refused to answer. They would also hang up when asked about the company's background.'

The board will run newspaper advertisements today to alert the public that it has not commissioned the company.

However, the spokeswoman said there was little else they could do. 'It's very hard for us to follow up because we cannot find the company,' she said.