Go to main content
LCQ8: Inbound Mainland tour groups
     ​Following is a question by the Hon Kwok Wai-keung and a written reply by the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (May 10):
     It has been reported that recently the practice of some inbound Mainland tour groups (IMTGs) taking visitors to non-traditional tourist districts such as To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom for shopping has caused road obstruction, and the meal arrangements for the visitors were also unsatisfactory. There are comments that the aforesaid situation is a "lose-lose" situation which has not only caused nuisances to local residents, but has also deprived visitors of a good travel experience, and even damaged Hong Kong's newly restored image as a tourist destination. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of IMTGs, since the full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland (i.e. February 6 this year), which stayed in Hong Kong for (i) one day, (ii) two days, (iii) three days, (iv) four days and (v) five days or more;
(2) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of IMTGs, since February 6 this year, whose itineraries included visits to Hong Kong with tour fares of (i) Renminbi (RMB) 500 or less, (ii) RMB 501 to 1,000, (iii) RMB 1,001 to 1,500, (iv) RMB 1,501 to 2,000 and (v) RMB 2,001 or more;
(3) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of IMTGs, since February 6 this year, whose itineraries included visits to the following attractions: (i) Hong Kong Palace Museum, (ii) M+, (iii) Xiqu Centre, (iv) Hong Kong Observation Wheel, (v) Peak Tram and (vi) Water World Ocean Park; whether the Travel Industry Authority (TIA) and/or the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) have introduced measures to encourage local licensed travel agents responsible for receiving such tour groups to include these attractions in their itineraries;
(4) whether TIA and/or TIC have issued guidelines to local licensed travel agents responsible for receiving such tour groups on the (i) transportation, (ii) meal and (iii) accommodation arrangements for IMTGs; if so, of the details; and
(5) of the total number of complaints or requests for assistance received by TIA since February 6 this year concerning IMTGs; among such cases, (i) the respective numbers of those which were made by Mainland visitors and Hong Kong residents, (ii) the number of tour groups involved, and (iii) the respective numbers of cases which were followed up by TIA itself and referred to other law enforcement agencies for handling?
     In respect of the question raised by the Hon Kwok Wai-keung, having consulted the Travel Industry Authority (TIA), the reply is as follows:

(1) In accordance with the Directives for Licensees (the Directives) issued by the TIA pursuant to the Travel Industry Ordinance (Cap. 634) (the Ordinance) which has been fully implemented since September 1, 2022, licensed travel agents in Hong Kong must register with the TIA the itineraries of the inbound Mainland tour groups (IMTGs) they receive. From February 6 to May 7, 2023, the TIA received a total of 9 674 registered itineraries from IMTGs. The durations which these tour groups stayed in Hong Kong are listed as follows:
Duration in Hong Kong Number of IMTGs Percentage of total
One day 3 787 39%
Two days 4 533 47%
Three days 784 8%
Four days 416 4%
Five days or more 154 2%
Total 9 674 100%
(2) Starting from March 29, 2023, the TIA requires Hong Kong licensed travel agents to provide tour fare information when they register the itineraries of IMTGs they receive. From March 29 to May 7, 2023, the TIA received a total of 3 183 registered itineraries. Tour fares of the itineraries are as follows:
Amount of tour fares Number. of IMTGs Percentage of total
Renminbi (RMB) 500 or less 1 725 54%
RMB 501 to 1,000 424 13%
RMB 1,001 to 1,500 517 16%
RMB 1,501 to 2,000 206 7%
RMB 2,001 or more 311 10%
Total 3 183 100%
(3) Among the 9 674 registered itineraries from IMTGs received by the TIA from February 6 to May 7, 2023, the following number of tour groups had visited the attractions mentioned in the question:
Attraction Number of IMTGs
Hong Kong Observation Wheel 709
Ocean Park (No information indicated whether the registered itineraries covered Water World) 534
Hong Kong Palace Museum 209
Peak Tram 72
Xiqu Centre 52
M+ 46
     As a regulatory body established under the Ordinance, the TIA is primarily responsible for the licensing and regulation of travel agents, tourist guides and tour escorts. In performing its functions of managing IMTGs, the TIA often urges travel agents and relevant stakeholders to take coordinated measures to divert tourists to visit different attractions or restaurants within the same time slot. Moreover, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC), individual attractions and stakeholders of the industry have been promoting various attractions to tourists visiting Hong Kong through different channels. The Government has also allocated resources to encourage the travel trade to develop more tourism itineraries and products with cultural and heritage elements. 
(4) Under the new regulatory framework for the travel industry which has been implemented in full since September 1, 2022, the TIA has issued the Directives pursuant to the Ordinance to regulate travel agents operating IMTGs, covering areas such as transportation, meal and accommodation arrangements. For instance, it requires travel agents to display the prescribed information (including the number of the travel agent license and tour group number) on vehicles carrying tour groups; travel agents to enter into a written service contract with any Mainland and non-Mainland travel agents, which must state the name and type of accommodation of the inbound tour groups, the means of transport used, the number and type of meals to be served, etc. Since the end of March, the TIA has already required travel agents to make advance reservations and confirm the meal time with restaurants that provide tour group meals and the reserved time for the meal must not be less than 30 minutes. the TIA has revised the Directives on May 1, 2023 to reflect these arrangements. The revised Directives also require travel agents and tour guides to arrange tour group members to have the meal at the restaurant during the reserved time, to coordinate arrangements of tour group participants to alight from and board the tour coach and enter and leave the restaurant, and to assist the maintenance of order of the participants waiting to enter and leave the restaurant. Full text of the Directives has been uploaded to the website of the TIA (www.tia.org.hk).
     The Government noted that the TIC and other trade organisations and representatives will share information on issues such as meals and tourist attractions for inbound tour groups from time to time, and encourage practitioners to enhance service quality in different aspects.
(5) From February 6 to May 7, 2023, the TIA did not receive any complaints concerning IMTGs. It received a total of seven requests for assistance, all of which were raised by Mainland visitors: three of them were about returning items purchased at registered shops, one about the attitude of the tour escort from the Mainland, one about the attitude of the staff of a registered shop, one about a tour group participant who had gone missing and one about tour itinerary and fees. The TIA is handling these seven cases. If violations of laws or regulations are involved, the TIA will follow up on prosecution and disciplinary action according to the established procedures, and maintain communication with other relevant law enforcement agencies according to the circumstances of the cases.
Ends/Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:36
Today's Press Releases