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China Looks to Curb Tourism Kickbacks

Reported by Voice of America News Service.

China is looking to stop cheap vacation tours that force tourists into expensive shops.

The tourists buy the tours at low cost, but then they are expected to make expensive purchases at stores while on the trip. The shops then give money back to the travel company that sold the low-cost trip.

Sometimes, such arrangements lead to conflict between tour guides and tourists.

China’s National Tourism Administration said Sunday it is looking at new fines for tourists that sign up for the discounted trips.

Before, Chinese officials placed fines on travel companies that offer such trips. But that action did not reduce the number of tourists tricked into going to expensive shops.

The Chinese tourism officials say they hope that fining tourists will stop this kind of discounted travel.

The new approach follows the death last week of a 54-year-old Chinese mainland tourist in Hong Kong. Chinese officials said he was beaten up outside a jewelry store last week. He reportedly died of a heart attack.

The tourist reportedly was trying to calm a fight that resulted when two of his fellow tourists refused to make purchases, angering the tour guides.

In many other countries, including the United States, tour buses commonly stop at “tourist traps.” These shops focus on selling goods to vacationers not from the area. The goods are often over-priced and lower quality.

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