Tour shops may face new registration fees

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2007, 12:00am

The Travel Industry Council is considering handling fees and a longer processing time for shops wanting to register to run tour group business.

The council's bylaws do not allow it to collect fees from shops and would need to be amended, a source familiar with the discussions said. Travel agents have to pay HK$3,000 to join the council and HK$1,000 in annual membership fees.

'We could get the shops to pay or require the travel agents to pay the registration fee,' the source said. 'However, their annual membership fees will have to be reduced. We just have to figure out the dollar amount and which method is better.'

The two working days currently needed to approve a shop to sell to tour groups might be stretched to seven working days. The longer period was necessary to carry out due diligence on shops and account for delays due to incomplete documentation, the source said. So far, 57 shops have signed up with the council.

The council's committee on shopping-related practices started discussions on tightening regulations for tourist shopping on Friday, and has a deadline of June 1.

How local retailers and mainland tour groups behave, particularly during the Labour Day 'golden week', is expected to have a strong influence on the council, which has long been criticised for lacking legislative teeth. The new measures are in response to a report by mainland broadcaster CCTV last month alleging that fake goods had been sold to tour groups.