Hong Kong is making quick progress in setting up stiffer restrictions for tour guides. This move became inevitable after holidaymakers, believed to be led by illegal agents from mainland China flooded Tung Chung.
In recent times, Lantau Island (a usually quiet town) has been heavily swamped by tourists. This development has been linked directly to the opening of a mega-bridge – Cross Border Bridge to Zhuhai and Macau. Henceforth, after bill passing in consideration before the city’s legislature, it will be a criminal offense for any guide to operate without license because some guides have been accused of breaching employment laws which do not allow mainlanders to work in Hong Kong.
Over the past two weeks, serious tensions were observed between the locals and visitors as thousands of people from mainland flooded Tung Chung after crossing the new bridge. Scenes like this were also witnessed in the past by other border towns. In fact, arrests were made when a clash broke out during a protest by locals.
The executive director of Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council, Alice Chan Cheung Lok-yee said only 100 mainland group tours (comprising about 3,000 tourists) registered with local agents to operate in Hong Kong last Sunday. This happened to be 6% of the total number of tourists that crossed the bridge on the same day.
Rule Of Engagement for Tour Guides
Existing laws do not allow any non-locals to provide services that have to do with accommodation arrangement, sightseeing or transportation without a licensed Hong Kong tour agent.
Any tour agent from the mainland that is only involved in the arrangement of cross-border transport without interfering with travellers’ itinerary does not need to apply for a license.
Operators have been demanded to follow laws in Hong Kong as illegal mainland tourists have become a great concern according to the Department of Culture and Tourism in Guangdong Province.
The Travel Industry Bill will be pushed to get a second reading before the year runs out according to the Hong Kong Tourism Commission.
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