Scandal in tourism must be investigated

2013-02-22 04:25  来源:大公报


     Hong Kong's five-day Lunar Chinese New Year holiday has come to an end.All wage earners in Hong Kong have to adjust their mood and return to work today.But on the Mainland, the seven-day "golden week" holiday will last for a few more days.The tourism industry expects there will be a second wave of arrival of mainland tourists in coming days.

     But there occurred an unpleasant incident in Hong Kong yesterday involving Mainland tourists.A 30-plus tour group from Shenzhen could not move in a hotel after arriving in Hong Kong, and many of them were forced to spend a night on a bus while some were arranged to stay in a "bunk-bed" hostel in Sham Shui Po.The tourists were very upset and filed their complaints.

     In past several days, more than 4,000 Mainland tour groups have arrived in Hong Kong.The absolute majority of them felt happy.But as a saying has it that "a speck of mouse dung will spoil a whole pot of porridge", a scandal of "tourists having to sleep on a bus" is ugly enough to disgrace and embarrass the whole tourism industry of Hong Kong.Just think of it: more than 30 people took the Chinese New Year holiday happily in a tour to Hong Kong from Shenzhen, paying $1,500 each beforehand for a 3-day and 2-night package tour including staying in a 3-star hotel.But they almost ended up sleeping on the street.How was it possible for them not to be badmouthing?

     Needless to say, during this Spring Festival season, Hong Kong is "full to bursting" with individual visitors and tour groups from the Mainland, all sightseeing spots being packed with tourists.But, it must be clarified that the occurrence of the scandal of "tourists having to sleep on a bus" obviously did not necessarily have anything to do with the arrival of a great number of tourists.It was rather caused by problems in the operation of the concerned travel agencies.One possibility could be that the Hong Kong travel agency receiving the Mainland tour group failed to book the hotel as stipulated by the contract.Another possibility could be that there were some disputes between the Shenzhen travel agency and its Hong Kong partner.Whatever the cause, however, it is totally unacceptable to receive a tour group without booking a hotel, no matter how busy the season is.

     Therefore, the Travel Industry council of Hong Kong (TIC) must launch a thorough investigation into this incident of "tourists having to sleep on a bus", demanding the concerned travel agency to file in a report to explain what caused the incident and finding out who should be held responsible.If the Hong Kong travel agency should take the blame, it must be punished by giving criticism, a warning, a fine or even suspending its license.If the blame falls on the Shenzhen travel agency, the truth must be brought to light in time to serve as a warning to others.

     Naturally, the upright needs not fear the crooked, and the defects cannot obscure the virtues.Hong Kong's travel industry, retail industry and immigration services are fully praiseworthy in their overall performance.It is not easy for the SAR to receive hundreds of thousands of arriving visitors every day during the Spring Festival season so far and make them feel as if at home with orderly, safe and reliable arrangements in almost all cases.

     Among other, at the Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Huanggang and other land border checkpoints, almost all staffers of the immigration, customs, quarantine and police are posted on duty and work overtime these day with their leaves being cancelled, in order to handle the flooding in and out of over 8 million travelers during the Spring Festival season.Even the E-Channel machines could hardly to cope with such heavy job loads, not to mention flesh-and-blood human beings.But personnel of relevant departments of the SAR Government stick to their posts to work "day and night, and night and day", and they do so with good professional quality, high efficiency and good attitude and make almost no mistakes.

     As a matter of fact, in recent years, seeing with their own eyes the good performance of personnel of Hong Kong immigration, customs and other services, Hong Kong citizens making outbound travels and visitors to Hong Kong have all given their praises.They have won glories for Hong Kong and set an example how the civil servants serve citizens.

     As for the tourism industry, the overall performance is satisfying as travel agencies, hotels, retail shops restaurants and public transport facilities have all improved their service quality including using Putonghua in communication.The sinful deeds in the past such as cheating customers by "pricing products per tael instead of per catty" or "closing a shop's doors to force tourists to buy goods" are rarely seen today, after repeatedly complained by tourists, exposed by media, punished by TIC and enhanced self-discipline of the industry.Right now, the more urgent problem lies in how to make further improvement.This remains to be pursued through better communication and cooperation between the SAR Government, tourism industry and relevant authorities on the Mainland, so that Hong Kong will not fail to live up to its reputation as a "capital of tourism".

     14 February 2013

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