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The Hong Kong Tourism Board has issued an apology, after a video showed a tour guide verbally abusing Chinese mainland visitors and forcing them to shop. Board chairman Tien Pei-chun expressed his regret over the incident.
Although the Hong Kong Tourism Board has no authority over the management of tour guides, the chairman sent his profuse apologies to mainland visitors.
Tien Pei-Chun, Chairperson of Hong Kong Tourism Board said "It's a shame for the Hong Kong tourism industry. I want to send my apologies to mainland visitors. I also would like to apologize to the coerced tourists. The incident severely damages Hong Kong's image."
Currently, over 5-thousand tour guides are employed by more than 15-hundred licensed tourism companies in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong tourism sector is under the co-management of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong Tourism Commission, as well as the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong.
The Council is mainly responsible for issuing guide licenses, and managing their code of behavior. It's investigating the tour guide and travel agency after the video clip was circulated on the Internet.
The latest incident comes after a 65-year-old tourist from Hunan Province died from a heart attack in Hong Kong in May, after arguing with a tour guide over being forced to shop.
The Tourism Board chairman says the video clip is not only an example of individual misconduct, but also a systemic problem in the industry.
Tien Pei-chun said "The tour guide's license should be revoked. There are over 1,000 guides in Hong Kong, dedicated to assisting mainland visitors. So the most important thing is how can we avoid incidents like this in the future."
The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong says disciplinary measures will be taken against the tour guide, and stressed that the incident is not representative of the whole industry.
And the National Tourism Administration has issued an advisory on travel to Hong Kong. It warns tourists to keep evidence when they believe their rights are infringed, and to file complaints.
Despite all of this, the Hong Kong travel industry remains confident it will welcome an increasing number of tourists from mainland this year.