Zero Charge Tour in Hong Kong

Topics: Tourism, World Tourism Organization, Hong Kong Pages: 5 (1685 words) Published: April 2, 2008
In the recent years, the tourism industry of Hong Kong has been suffering from a severe negative impact due to a scandal that occurred within the industry. The Zero Charge Tour literally indicates tour without payment of fee by the tourist, whereas, it is not precise to interpret the Zero Charge Tour in this way. The Zero Charge Tour means the kind of tour that requires the tourist to pay incredibly low fee. Distinguished from the traditional group tour, it appears to be more economic and worthwhile, thus it becomes attractive to those tourists who tend to have a relatively low budget. Zero Charge Tour firstly appeared in the tourism industry of Thailand where it was employed to attract the tourists from Taiwan. Subsequently there had been a rapid expansion from Thailand to other countries within the region. In some situation the Zero Charge Tour has been a systematic common practice within the industry. This essay is to take a closer look at this ethical issue and thus gain a better understanding of it. In the succeeding section, there will be causes and effects study to unveil how it happens. Then a further description of this ethical issue from the perspectives of various stakeholders will be included and afterwards attentions will be concentrated on the steps that government has taken to tackle this issue. Lastly, conclusion will be drawn and possible suggestions will be presented at the end of this essay. Causes and effects study

Hong Kong has long been remarked as a shoppers’ paradise. It has a well developed tourism industry which attracts tens of thousands of people every year. Since 1997’s handing over, Hong Kong’s tourism has become increasing dependent to the vast market of mainland China. It has become more and more apparent since 2003 when Hong Kong’s economy was in severe depression and CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Agreement) came into being. In order to relieve the Hong Kong economy and gain mutual benefit, CEPA loosed the constraints of mainland tourist’s visiting Hong Kong. Though traveling to Hong Kong become more possible for middle class people who share a big portion of the total population of Mainland China, the normal price for a group tour to Hong Kong is still above budget of those people. Zero Charge Tour was then introduced to lure those people. Apparently it turns out to have caused a series of problems to the tourism industry of Hong Kong. The exposure of Zero Charge Tour by CCTV brought great damage to the image of Hong Kong and the confidence of tourist towards Hong Kong. With the emerging external competitions from cities like Singapore and Bangkok, this issue might reduce the market share of Hong Kong’s tourism industry in the market of mainland China. Apart from the industry, other stakeholders involved suffered as well. In the succeeding section, analysis will be conducted from the perspectives of some of the stakeholders. Description of ethical issue

Some of the stakeholders of this issue are travel operators. These complain that their counterparts in mainland China are not mature and refuse to pay any money to them. In order to go on their business, there is no second choice but follow the “common practice”. The travel operator can seldom receive money from the travel agencies in mainland China. Sometimes they even need to pay money to travel agencies of Mainland China when managing the so-called Zero Charge Tour. In order to get ample profit from those tourists, the travel operator would make a secret agreement with some special shops whose goods are in much higher prices and even in some occasion are counterfeits. The Travel operator and the tour guide are promised to receive money from those shops. This is the way how travel operators generate revenue and how tour guides get commission. In this case, it seems that the travel operator is not to be blame. If they don’t operate the Zero Charge Tour, they will lose market share and might even not be able to survive...
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