Travel agencies have duty to clarify all costs
paid 980 yuan ($145) to join a sevenday tour to Hong Kong organized by the Hangzhou Sports Association for the Elderly and a travel agency, complained to the media that those on the tour were reduced to tears by their guide who berated them for not spending enough at the various establishments they visited. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Wednesday:
Tours with prices that seem too good to be true are usually embedded with forced shopping. The low prices are the bait in the trap.
This not only violates consumers’ right to be fully informed of what they are paying for, but also may break the law if it is misrepresented or the tourists are coerced to buy.
Such low-cost tours usually come with a hidden price. But the reason for their large share of the market is because of greed and information asymmetry.
In this regard, the related associations should keep their distance from travel operators who specialize in cut-price tours, and a tour transparency system should be established given the average level of spending that participants can expect to do on a particular tour based on the spending of participants on previous or similar tours.
The Regulations on Travel Agencies (Revised Draft) issued by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council on Nov 28 stipulates that if travel agencies and their employees try to coerce tourists to spend, the tourists are entitled to sue the travel agency within 30 days of the end of the tour.