Visitors wander streets at night after row with tour guide
Jennifer Ngo, Amy Nip
Even as the government was making public its proposals for reforming the tour industry, yet another group of mainland tourists were complaining of ill-treatment by a guide who said they hadn't spent enough on a shopping trip.
The group of 15 from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, said they had been put in substandard accommodation after the guide told them that if they didn't spend more it would affect where they stayed and what they had for dinner.
'We deliberately signed up for the HK$3,200 sightseeing tour and not the HK$1,600 shopping tour ... we already spent over HK$20,000 [as a group] in total, and she still thought it wasn't enough,' a member of the Golden Harbour-International Travel Agency tour, Chen Bijiao, said yesterday.
'She sneered at us and said other groups spent more than HK$40,000.'
Unable to accept the accommodation offered to them on Thursday night, the group wandered the streets, eventually seeking police help after being unable to contact their guide.
They were moved from the Hilltop Country Club in Tsuen Wan, where they said the rooms were dirty, to the Rambler Oasis Hotel in Tsing Yi, with the extra cost of their rooms paid by Golden Harbour, the Hong Kong agency handling their tour.
Their tour, costing HK$3,200 per person, included three days in Hong Kong and a day in Macau.
Another member of the group, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the tour guide had tried to trick them into buying key chains on the tour bus.
They thought the chains were free gifts, but the guide demanded money after handing them out. '[The tour guide] really ruined our trip,' she said. 'I'm not sure if I want to go through this again.'
When asked if they would come to Hong Kong on holiday again, the two tour members said they had lost faith in the agencies and it would be hard for them to return to the city.
The group will leave for Macau this morning, where a local tourist agency will take care of their itinerary.
Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said it had yet to receive formal complaints about forced shopping from members of the tour.
He said the Hilltop Country Club had been mentioned on the itinerary. Golden Harbour told the council that Shenzhen Comfort Travel Service was a middleman. But a manager of the Shenzhen agency said she hadn't heard about a tour from Wenzhou.
'Somebody else must have misused our company's name,' she said.
The agency had reported the case to tourism authorities in Shenzhen.