HONG KONG – The Travel Industry Council will decide today whether to raise service fees for tour guides by 20 percent.
It is estimated that an increase will bring in an additional HK$1 billion in revenue.
A source said a committee of the travel body has suggested service fees for tour guides and coach drivers be hiked because the last increase took place in 2004.
Since then, the US and Hong Kong dollar have experienced weakness.
“It is possible that the quality of service will deteriorate if the situation continues,” the source said.
The council has been releasing guidelines on the maximum amount of service fees that may be charged on a daily basis for different destinations.
It has also given tour members the freedom to decide the amount and whether to pay it.
If the service fee is set to increase by HK$20, the amount for popular Taiwan and South Korean tours will increase to HK$100 from HK$80.
For Japan, India and Nepal, it will be raised from HK$100 to HK$120 while Europe, North America and Russia, would see fee increases from HK$120 to HK$140.
The source said the council has managed to persuade the larger travel agencies to give guides the whole fee amount, in order to appease the tour guide associations.
About seven to eight agencies have agreed and are likely make a pledge at the council meeting today.
EGL Tours executive director Huen Kwok-chuen said the income of the tour guides is likely to increase by HK$1,500 a month.
The travel company has pledged to give them the entire fee.
However, a lawmaker is worried that the fee increase may be pocketed by some employers.
“We are worried that tour guides will only receive a part of the service fees and the increase will only benefit their employers,” labor sector lawmaker Bill Tang Ka-piu said.
Lam Chi-ting, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Industry Employees General Union, urged agencies to promise that the increase will end up in the pockets of tour guides.