Please click here to download the Code of Conduct for Outbound Tour Escorts.
Tour escorts play a pivotal role in the outbound industry. The objectives of this Code are:
- To ensure that tour escorts possess proper service principles and professional ethics, and provide safe, well-run itineraries and the highest standard of service for outbound tour participants according to the arrangements of travel agents;
- To encourage the continuing education and self-development of tour escorts;
- To cultivate an earnest, responsible working attitude of tour escorts; and
- To enhance the reputation of the outbound industry and the tour escort profession, and to promote the development of both.
Tour escorts shall always pay attention to professional ethics, perform their duties with enthusiasm and strictly follow the principles set out below:
- Tour escorts shall possess good professional qualities and ethics in order to uphold the image and reputation of travel agents and the outbound industry.
- Tour escorts shall familiarise themselves with and act according to this Code and all regulations of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) applicable to their tour-escorting work.
- Tour escorts shall understand their duties, strive to provide the highest standard of service in an honest and fair manner, and be ready to contribute to the development of the outbound industry.
- Tour escorts’ professional ethics
- Provision of highest standard of service
Tour escorts shall strive to serve tour participants during the trip.
- Commitment to professional ethics
Tour escorts shall adhere to professional ethics. When receiving tour participants, they shall:
- be well-behaved, dutiful, discreet, sincere, courteous, punctual, attentive and patient, and strive to uphold the overall interests of the tour group;
- take care of all tour participants in a fair and patient manner irrespective of their age, sex, physical condition, religion, race or nationality;
- provide tour participants with accurate and fact-based information, and contact relevant organisations such as government departments, insurance companies and tourism bureaux for verification if necessary;
- respect the customs and habits of the destinations;
- not smoke in front of tour participants in order to protect the health of the tour participants and maintain the freshness of the air during the trip;
- not drink alcohol, take drugs or gamble before and during work in order not to affect their judgement and concentration when performing their duties;
- not recommend or sell medicine or any illicit items to tour participants; and
- not seize or take away, or threat to seize or take away the travelling documents of tour participants.
Tour escorts shall dress properly to enhance their professional image. Apart from bringing along their Tour Escort Pass issued by the TIC when performing their duties, they shall wear it on their chest when the tour groups assemble for departure.
- Safety of tour groups
- Tour escorts shall always give the highest priority to the safety of tour groups, tactfully remind tour participants to be watchful about personal belongings, and pay attention to the safety of food, transport, accommodation, sightseeing and other activities.
- In case of accidents, tour escorts shall arrange professional treatment for the injured tour participants without delay, contact the insurance companies (if the tour participants have bought travel insurance), arrange emergency rescue service (if necessary), and report the accidents to their travel agent. They shall report the accidents to the police if the liability of third parties is involved.
- Tour escorts shall help to arrange medical treatment for tour participants who have fallen ill and contact the insurance companies (if the tour participants have bought travel insurance) without delay, and decide, after considering the situation, whether they need to report it to their travel agent. They shall report the situation to their travel agent and/or the police if many tour participants have fallen ill or the liability of third parties may be involved.
[For safety issues of tour groups, please refer to the Safety Checklist in the Appendix.]
- Honouring service pledges
Tour escorts shall provide tour participants with the highest standard of service in accordance with their travel agent’s itinerary arrangements and the provisions of the travel service contract. They shall not alter the itinerary, which includes adding or cancelling any of its items, without the consent of the tour participants and their travel agent. If alteration is necessary because of emergencies or special circumstances, they shall clearly explain the reasons for such alteration to the tour participants and report it to their travel agent without delay.
- Promoting a spirit of cooperation
Tour escorts shall maintain a good and incorruptible working relationship with partners such as local tourist guides and tour coach drivers, and the staff of all service providers such as attractions, theme parks, hotels, restaurants and tour coach companies.
- Respect for other industry members
Tour escorts shall not defame other industry members.
- Rules governing acceptance of service charges
- Tour escorts shall comply with rules governing service charges stipulated by the TIC and their travel agent.
- Tour escorts shall not collect service charges from tour participants by any coercive means, nor shall they allow their service to be affected because few or no service charges are given.
- Rules governing self-pay activities
- Tour escorts shall comply with rules governing self-pay activities stipulated by the TIC and their travel agent.
- Tour escorts shall not coerce tour participants into joining self-pay activities, and shall let them freely decide whether to join such activities according to their preferences.
- Prior to arranging self-pay activities, tour escorts shall explain clearly to tour participants the content, duration, fee, safety and responsibility of such activities.
- Tour escorts shall make appropriate arrangements for those tour participants who do not join self-pay activities when such activities are held.
- Rules governing shopping activities
Tour escorts shall not coerce and/or through inaccurate information mislead tour participants into purchasing any goods, nor shall they allow their service attitude to be affected because tour participants are unwilling to purchase.
- Prohibition of tour-departure fees
Tour escorts shall not at any time solicit or collect any form of fees from tour participants for leaving the tour in the middle of the trip.
- Provision of highest standard of service
- Abiding by the law
Tour escorts shall abide by, and help tour participants to understand and abide by, the laws of Hong Kong and the destinations.
- Interpretation, enforcement and penalty
This Code is promulgated by the TIC and shall be observed by all tour escorts. Enforcement and decisions on violations of this Code are made in accordance with interpretations by the TIC Board of Directors, which has the power to penalise tour escorts found to be in breach of this Code. Tour escorts found to be in breach of any provisions of this Code or unsuitable to continue to perform the duties of tour escorts because of misconduct may have their Tour Escort Pass suspended or revoked. The Board reserves the right to amend any provisions of this Code.