New tourism pact offers ‘greater protection’

Friday, August 5, 2011
Issue 1376, Page 4
Word count: 474
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U said the pact signed between the tourism boards in China and Macau to fight malpractice in the industry has demonstrated a “closer bilateral relationship” and can provide “greater protection” to travel agencies, tour guides and also visitors.

The secretary told reporters yesterday that the agreement, which imposes six requirements for contracts signed between mainland travel agencies in charge of tour groups and Macau travel agencies responsible for receiving mainland tours, is able to “promote development in the tourism industry” of both places.

The specific measures aimed to tackle irregularities in the mainland tourism market outbound for Macau including “zero-fee tour packages” and “forced shopping” came into effect on August 1 and were agreed upon by the National Tourism Administration of China and the Macau Government Tourist Office.

The secretary said the pact can “help promote cross-regional tourism cooperation and multi-destination travels, as well as improve the quality of tourism services and enhance healthy and orderly development in the market”.

Publicity and promotion activities of the pact will be launched shortly, he added.

Moreover, Cheong said travel agencies have the responsibility to “correct and handle” malpractices during a tour after signing contracts with tour group visitors.

President of the Macau Travel Industry Council, Andy Wu Keng Kuong, said the travel disputes in Macau were “mainly caused by a lack of communication between the tour guide/travel agency and the visitors”, TDM news reported.

Wu, who went to Inner Mongolia with the government delegation for a courtesy visit, said the new pact that requires details of itinerary and tour fees in the contract will minimise travel disputes.

Travel agencies on the mainland are also forbidden from offering prices lower than the cost of the tour. Wu said according to the reference stipulated by the National Tourism Administration of China, the lowest cost for operating a mainland tour group to Hong Kong or Macau is about 300 yuan per day.

On the other hand, the secretary held a luncheon for the Youth Affairs Committee and the Sports Committee at the Macau Tower yesterday, in thanks for their efforts in organising summer activities for local youth.

Cheong U said in his speech that Macau does not have enough “high quality” sports venues and he hoped that the situation can be improved after the five new land parcels are reclaimed in the future.

Nevertheless, he disclosed that seven temporary badminton courts will be built at the Olympics Sports Stadium in Taipa and a multi-function training centre is set to be built next to the Macao Dome and construction and design tenders will be launched at a later time.

The Colegio Dom Bosco Sports Stadium is planned to be expanded with a car park and the Mong Ha Sports Stadium will stand five-storey high with an underground car park after reconstruction, he added.

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