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Hong Kong trade to get new supervisory body

HONG KONG’s travel trade will see a change in industry regulator when the newly established Tourism Industry Authority (TIA) replaces the Travel Industry Council (TIC) within the next three years.

  28/03/2012 14:10

Under the proposed framework, TIA will act as an independent statutory body overseeing all regulatory and licensing functions of the TIC and Travel Agents Registry, including handling of complaints, managing the Travel Industry Compensation Fund, and censuring members who violate directives. Non-trade members will constitute the majority of its board.

TIC, meanwhile, has been earmarked for a non-regulatory role related to travel trade training and coordination for emergency incidents.

Since the start of the year, the Tourism Commission has been holding various meetings with the eight trade association members under TIC to discuss the revamped framework.

"During the meetings, there were no strong views among the trade against the overall approach of setting up an independent statutory authority to regulate the tourism industry," a spokesperson told TTG Asia e-Daily.

"Some concerns were raised about the detailed arrangements under the new regulatory framework, such as the approach for raising the entry threshold for travel (experts) and the funding arrangement (including the level of fees) for TIA," the spokesperson added.

Larry Lo, Westminster Travel managing director and TIC board member, said: “I welcome the new structure and hope TIA will benefit Hong Kong tourism and enhance both inbound and outbound business. It’s not TIC’s job to supervise inbound travel and tour guides. It functions more like a trade association and platform for the industry to voice and defend our rights while providing benefits.”

Kitty Law, director, First Marketing Hong Kong, said: “I believe TIC has no value to exist at all as there are alternative choices of trade associations. Unlike TIC, TIA is a proper statutory body supported by government funding, so it is a better option for the trade.”

Source: TTG Asia

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