A minimum price may be reintroduced for bus tours to the mainland to prevent cut-throat competition compromising Hong Kong travellers' safety, the Travel Industry Council said yesterday. The proposal is among measures to be discussed between the council and mainland officials, after 10 Hong Kong residents were killed in two bus crashes on the mainland last week. Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said in a radio programme yesterday that the council would ask the Tourism Ministry to provide information on hotel and transport costs to help implement minimum prices for mainland tours. 'With a list of minimum costs, we could set out package prices that could achieve a level of safety,' Mr Tung said. The prices of bus tours to the mainland have been falling because of an increase in the number of operators, making it a more competitive business. There have been claims that the lower prices have encouraged some operators to employ substandard drivers or use coaches that are not reliable. But Mr Tung said the reintroduction of a minimum package price - which was dropped five years ago - might affect consumer rights and encourage a monopoly of the industry. He said the council issued a circular to its members yesterday instructing them to remind tour guides to ensure bus drivers did not exceed the speed limit. Mr Tung said the council did not have the power to control mainland coaches, but the ministry had taken steps to improve safety. 'Necessary measures have been taken, but drivers and coach operators simply do not bother to follow the rules strictly.' He said the council would consult Hong Kong tour agency members to list locations on the mainland where they believed facilities such as hillside railings could be improved. Mr Tung's supervisor, council chairman Ronnie Yuen Ka-chai, said he would consider other measures to ensure the safety of Hong Kong tourists on the mainland. These include asking its agencies to hire only mainland counterparts that provide two drivers on each bus and do not use buses that are too old. However, Mr Yuen admitted there could be difficulties. 'There are mainland laws that require two drivers to be on a coach for a long-distance trip. 'It will be difficult to ask them to provide two for short-distance trips, as the driving only lasts for four to five hours,' he said on RTHK's Party Forum. Mr Yuen advised tourists not to go on low-cost tours that start and end outside Hong Kong as they are not under the jurisdiction of the council and Hong Kong consumers' rights would not be protected. Meanwhile, the brother-in-law of one of the people hurt in last week's bus crashes, Wong Yiu-wing, said yesterday he had to raise $230,000 for the chartered jet to fly Mr Wong back to Hong Kong for treatment on Friday night and the operator, Guangdong (HK) Tours, had not helped. Mr Tung said tour agencies could seek reimbursement from the council's emergency fund for the transport of victims' families and bodies back to Hong Kong. Although the fund did not cover the transport of injured tourists, Mr Tung said that agencies could also apply in special cases. Twenty of the other injured tourists were expected to be flown home last night and early this morning, while the remaining few will remain in hospitals on the mainland until they are well enough to travel.