Tuesday, July 29, 2014   




$3m snub for Shenzhen travel firms

Eddie Luk

Friday, January 24, 2014

Members of the Shenzhen Travel Association fear they will lose as much as HK$3 million because of canceled flights to Thailand booked through five Hong Kong travel agencies over the Lunar New Year period.

The association approached the Consumer Council and the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council yesterday but both said they cannot help.

The Shenzhen travel agencies had earlier booked 3,500 Bangkok- and Phuket-bound charter flight tickets and paid HK$7 million to Orient Thai Airlines.

However, when they asked for the tickets to be canceled due to the worsening political situation in Thailand, the airlines deducted HK$3 million in cancellation fees.

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The 30 members of the association said that since they had fully refunded their customers, they stood to lose the HK$3 million.

The association visited the Consumer Council's head office in North Point yesterday to lodge an official complaint and asked the watchdog to mediate with the airline to get a full refund.

However, council staff explained that since the matter is a business dispute, it went beyond its scope.

The staff also suggested the members contact the Travel Industry Council to see if it can provide any assistance.

But TIC executive director Joseph Tung Yiu-chung said that although Hong Kong had issued the black travel alert for Bangkok, air services to the country are continuing.

TIC chairman Michael Wu Siu-ying said: "Indeed the issue is beyond our scope and it is a business transaction between an airline company and the Shenzhen travel agencies."

On Tuesday the Thai government declared a 60-day state of emergency, saying that it wanted to prevent escalation in the more than two months of protests aimed at forcing out Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. .


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