'Not a must for travel agents to declare closure' - RTHK
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'Not a must for travel agents to declare closure'

2024-02-26 HKT 12:37
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  • 'Not a must for travel agents to declare closure'
The Hong Kong Tourism Association on Monday said people who book trips with travel agencies should not necessarily expect to hear in advance that the company is closing its doors.

Its executive director, Timothy Chui, made the comment after New Star Travel abruptly stopped operations last week, citing the pandemic and difficulties with scams.

As of Friday, the Travel Industry Authority (TIA) had received 140 inquiries from the public over the closure, involving HK$360,000.

The TIA said New Star Travel informed the authorities on February 9 that it hoped to cease operations on February 23.

Chui said agencies had to inform the authority 14 days in advance that they intend to close, but don't necessarily have to make a public announcement.

"If it is a travel agency with very high sales, informing the public about their plan to shut is reasonable and appropriate... but some agencies have a different business," he told an RTHK radio programme.

"Some focusing on retail have connections with consumers, but some may only have to coordinate with wholesalers... so there's still room for discussion, on how to inform the public."

The TIA said the travel agency did not accept any new bookings after February 9 and it is currently arranging to refund affected customers.

But speaking on the same programme, Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien said the authorities should have immediately informed the public about the agency's plan to shut.

"Some travel agencies with bad intentions may still want to earn more before they close, and they may declare themselves bankrupt later on. The authorities will have to compensate affected customers using their compensation fund, but it's unfair," he said.

'Not a must for travel agents to declare closure'