22 Aug 2016
Guangdong Proposes Maximum Fine of Five Times Illegal Income for Forced Tourist Shopping
The Legislative Affairs Office of Guangdong Province is soliciting public opinion for the Tourism Regulations of Guangdong Province (Revised Draft), with detailed provisions expressly prohibiting forced shopping tours in disguise. Offenders will be fined five times the amount of the illegal income.
The regulations took more space to regulate forced shopping tours in disguise which are rampant despite repeated prohibition, and spelled out the legal responsibility. Luring tourists by organising unreasonably low-priced, zero- or negative-fee tours, and obtaining illegitimate profits such as kickbacks through arranging shopping or itineraries for additional fee will be dealt with once discovered.
The regulations also mentioned that travel agencies offering package tours may enter into supplemental contract with tourists on shopping, itineraries for additional fee by mutual agreement or on request by tourists, but travel agencies, tourist guides or leaders shall not influence tourists by means of threats, intimidation, restriction of personal freedom, or force them to spend and should inform them of the possible risks.
Unlawful Disclosure of Personal Information of Tourists Expressly Prohibited
Additionally, improper practices including "dumping, price fixing or accepting kickbacks," "forcibly detaining visitors or dropping off visitors in the middle of the trip", "asking for tips, or additional service fees", "illegal use, disclosure of tourists’ personal information" are expressly prohibited in the regulations.
Travel agencies contravening the regulations may face penalties including: rectification order by the tourism authorities, confiscation of the illegal income, suspension of business for rectification, and a fine of not less than RMB50,000 and not more than RMB300,000; illegal income of more than RMB300,000 will be imposed a fine of not less than doubled and not more than five times the amount of illegal income; revocation of business licence for serious cases. Individuals including tourist guides may face confiscation of illegal income, a fine of not less than RMB5,000 and not more than RMB20,000, and suspension or revocation of tourist guide permit.