New law for China tourists kicks in on Oct 1

New law for China tourists kicks in on Oct 1

SINGAPORE - Local travel players have mixed reactions to China's new tourism law to enhance protection for travellers from the country, which takes effect on Oct 1.

While many have welcomed the changes as it could boost travel to Singapore, others felt otherwise as tours to the city-state are often packaged with other regional destinations, which may be affected by the new law.

The changes, made known to agencies here through circulars sent out last week, stipulate that tours sold in China for domestic and overseas travel clearly list itineraries, duration and details of transport, hotels and meals.

The law also puts a stop to "zero- or negative- fare tours" - a phenomenon that the local Chinese media has described as rampant in China.

These land tours target shoppers and are sold at or below cost to boost sales. But there is a catch - travellers are often forced to tip tour guides, pay more for add-on tours, or herded to designated shops and given the hard sell.

Travel agencies then get kickbacks from shops or, in some instances, own them. Hotel stays are typically replaced with overnight coach rides to neighbouring countries.

Such tours are commonly offered for travel to places like Thailand, Yunnan and Hong Kong, said industry players here. When implemented, the law could result in higher prices for travel to these places.

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