Tour guides hit by euro rise seek better tips

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 12:00am

An increasingly expensive euro is prompting tour operators, who get paid in Hong Kong dollars, to demand more tips when taking tour groups to Europe.

The Travel Industry Council will debate the issue tomorrow.

The euro is more than 50 per cent more valuable than the US dollar, to which the local currency is linked. This raises costs for local guides and drivers with tour groups in Europe. The call for increased tips applies only to tours to Europe.

However, Michael Wu Siu-ieng, who sits on the council's board, believes the best solution is to raise tour prices.

He said the daily tips customers pay to tour guides ranged between HK$50 and HK$70, and raising this would mean tips could amount to about half the tour price per day. This was not reasonable, he said.

'A much better way is to increase the tour price, because this way customers know exactly what the charge is for,' he said.

'Tips are about the quality of service customers get. They should not be increased simply because of a rising euro.'

He said customers would be more inclined to accept this than pay more tips. 'It is necessary to raise tour prices because of the escalating euro, but asking for more tips is not fair to the consumer.'