Two dozen travel agencies join scheme promising 'honest and quality holidays' Shenzhen has become the third mainland city, following Beijing and Shanghai, to offer 'pressure-free shopping' tour packages in Hong Kong in the hope of cracking down on market malpractice. Hong Kong and Shenzhen tourism authorities launched the 'Honest and Quality Hong Kong Tours' yesterday to counter the infamous 'zero-fee tours' that have brought complaints of visitors being forced by commission-seeking agents to buy goods they do not want. Twenty-two tour agencies in Shenzhen have joined, promising to offer reasonable package prices, guaranteed sightseeing time and to exert no pressure on tourists. Any agents who breach the scheme's rules after joining it face being named and shamed in the media. The new tour packages, varying from one to four days with prices ranging between HK$198 and HK$1,780, will be formally launched in Shenzhen on January 1. Tourism Board chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said she believed the idea would win mainland tourists' hearts in the long run. 'The new tours may restrain the increasing rate of mainland travellers in the short term due to higher prices but I believe more and more consumers will be able to tell the difference in the quality of the tours and make wise decisions.' Shenzhen is the biggest transfer station for mainland visitors coming to Hong Kong. It is expected that more than 10 million people will cross the border from Shenzhen this year, amounting to 70 to 80 per cent of the total mainlanders visiting Hong Kong. In addition, the city saw its first shop to promote the 'Honest and Quality Hong Kong Tour' in Shenzhen open at the Huanggang border control point yesterday. The shop's manager, Wang Jun, said: 'This place will serve as a meeting place for honest and quality tour members, and also as a window to tell people what this sort of new tour can bring to them.' Similar shops will be set up at control points in Lowu and the Western Corridor soon, he added. The tours drew mixed reviews from Shenzhen travel agencies. Wang Yun, a marketing manager with China International Travel Services, said many agencies in the city, including his, had begun to offer similar quality tours this year. 'We found that a good number of tourists preferred quality over price as long as they knew what they could get,' said Mr Wang, adding that the number of tour groups had increased by more than 20 per cent this year, mainly boosted by 'quality tour' travellers. Shenhua Travel Services manager Xu Ying was worried about the price of quality tours. 'Most customers will choose the cheapest one from the packages offering the same itineraries, while high-end customers usually prefer to take a trip on their own. So I am not so optimistic about the new tours,' she said. The scheme is expected to expand to more mainland cities soon.