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Thread: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

  1. #1
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    Default Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Hi,

    I've just signed-up a tour package (with 1 of the big ones) and is about to depart in a few days time. To my surprise, i was told by the local tour guide (who will accompany us) yesterday to prepare extra cash (S$80/pax) for compulsory night tour..

    Had anyone experience this before? Is this normal?

    I think is a bit unethical, since compulsory itinerary should have been included as part of the package?

    Now i'm not sure whether to join or not to join the night tour..

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    IF it's not disclosed to you in writing before and at the time you purchased the package, report it to the Police, CASE, Tourist Promotion Board (both here and the destination country).

    Obviously sumwan's trying to take you for a ride, and force you to do something you seem reluctant to do.

  3. #3
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Not uncommon.

    Lengthy time wasting side tours to expensive gift / souvenir shops. And tipping a compulsory fee for the guide and the tour bus drivers. All these are unwritten as well.

    Ryan

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Quote Originally Posted by giantcanopy View Post
    Not uncommon.

    Lengthy time wasting side tours to expensive gift / souvenir shops. And tipping a compulsory fee for the guide and the tour bus drivers. All these are unwritten as well.

    Ryan
    But is is legal/allowed, or are the authorities not aware of such practices? Then they shld be made known IMHO.

    AFAIK, if a party is being FORCED to do something not previously agreed to in a contract, then it shld not be enforceable.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Ya, tipping to guide and driver is well known... think is stated in the T&Cs as well.

    Spend long time in shops also common, kind of like no choice and usually is inside the itinerary.

    What is disturbing is the 'compulsory' night tour is not mentioned at all during sign-up and subsequent meet up for payment It give me a feeling that is the local tour guide own arrangement to make some $.. Maybe the agency allows it to cover the local tour guide expenses?

    Anyway, this is difficult choice now.. If i go against the tour guide's advise to join the 'compulsory tour', i guess i'll have an un-enjoyable time throughout the trip.. If i join and it turn out sucks, i'll not be happy
    Last edited by Keong; 3rd October 2008 at 07:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Tips for drivers and guides are stated in the iternary. The side tours are not compulsary but encouraged. This is because the whole busload must agree to go or else its a no go. When I went for my China trip, the guide try to physco us to go for the night tour but 70% of the group are our family members so we have the majority of saying no. Not really worth. We rather go out on our own. The guide even use scare tactics like bad taxi drivers, roberies etc. to discourage us from going on our own.

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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    go there then say, wah no more money, how? can otang or not?

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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    ya, the local tour guide in SG try to physco now, say everyone is going and if you dont go, need to arrange own transport back to hotel..

    where did you go, shanghai + jiangnan? organized by 3-letter agency?

    btw, the guide also say it's 'compulsory' to tip the hotel porter.. is it true?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Coming from a travel industry background ... I will say that tipping for guide driver and even porters are very common .... especially in Asian countries. Anyway tipping is a common way of life in a lot of service industry in other countries.

    To include all these tipping in the tour price would make the tour look really expensive and nobody will go on these packages. But to put a fixed sum (everyone has to pay it ... children inclusive) has become somewhat of a debatable topic.

    Tipping is a gesture and depends on the type of service recieved ... making it compulsory means the guides and dirver and do minimum and still expect the full amount from every passenger ... This "bad" practice has gone rather out of hand.

    When the planner do their tour planning in the office, they will usually leave some free time for the SG guides to do optional tour and sell optional stuff ... this is also how the SG guides get additional income. The cost of getting the bus does come out from what extra you had paid ... not from the original tour fare.

    You are free NOT to go on these "optional" but having the SG guide use hard sell tactics and say that it is compulsory, then it is not right and this should be highlighted. I believe you can still choose not to go and catch a taxi back to your hotel ... probably cheaper than the cost of the tour.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    You do have a choice.

    Take this as a learning lesson now. Be more hardworking in the future, plan ur own F&E tours.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeSwitch View Post
    Tips for drivers and guides are stated in the iternary. The side tours are not compulsary but encouraged. This is because the whole busload must agree to go or else its a no go. When I went for my China trip, the guide try to physco us to go for the night tour but 70% of the group are our family members so we have the majority of saying no. Not really worth. We rather go out on our own. The guide even use scare tactics like bad taxi drivers, roberies etc. to discourage us from going on our own.
    This is plain silly and reflects badly not only on the guide but on the country giving visitors the impression that the host country is really as such (for the absolutely ignorant and guilable ones)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    usually all the big tour groups are together with the country tour agency so the host country tour agency will actually tie down everything with the tour group only providing the guide..

    if comfortable with travelling, can just take a free and easy package instead so you see what you want and when you want with no hidden cost. Plus you choose your own meals.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    The way they do it.. They go there say who wants to go optional tour. If you say dont want, then they will announce to the group, since they dont want, we will have to raise the px for everyone else, make you paiseh, then you will join.
    Meow!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Thats why I never liked joining group tours. F&E is the way to go. Can always join some local day tours on your own while at destination.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    As someone who travels regularly with the big companies like CTC and Chan Brothers, this is something to be expected.

    Because of industrial competition, the practice is to exclude the Airport surcharge, taxes, and optional tours, tips etc and quote you a price based on twin sharing. This is why some tours can be advertised for only a few hundred bucks, but you normally have to pay at least 1 to 1.5 k for a normal 1 week tour anywhere.

    Normally for optional tours, they can't force you to go if they do not reach a certain minimum number of takers. If you are really unhappy with them for forcing you to commit to the optional tour, your best option is to confer with your other tour group members. If the majority do not wish to go, then the tour agency has to give way. However, if let's say 19 out of 20 want to go for the additional tour, you have very little say in the matter.

    As for the shopping, my best advice is to keep your mouth shut when your other tour members ask you for your opinion. If you pass any adverse comments, such words have a way of filtering back to the tour guide. Again, it is industrial norm for the tour guide to earn his commission.

    As an aside, another practice which I do not like is the deliberate advertisement of lies when it comes to "confirmed departures". All the big (even the above mentioned) and small companies like to advertise that they have confirmed departures on say Oct 10, 12, 13, 14....etc to project a rosy picture. When you actually ask them about the tour, they have the cheek to say that there are no confirmed departures at all! For a working person who needs to take leave, this is a real pain in the butt.
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Guys, thks for sharing.. learn more about tour pkg

    Normally would prefer DIY, but this one go with parents, so wanted to let the agency takes care of everything...

    I guess is really about business ethic and customer expectation. If all the info is presented up front and let customer make an informed decision, there wont be so much surprises and unhappy experience. Perhaps the industry is too competitive and not regulated. And worst thing is more and more temp staffs in those big agencies and there is really no customer service at all

    Maybe web forum can be a good platform for providing feedback both to these companies and the public

  17. #17

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong View Post
    ya, the local tour guide in SG try to physco now, say everyone is going and if you dont go, need to arrange own transport back to hotel..

    where did you go, shanghai + jiangnan? organized by 3-letter agency?

    btw, the guide also say it's 'compulsory' to tip the hotel porter.. is it true?
    its not compulsory,
    especially to people from singapore like singapore, where there is a 10% service charge.

    but like angpao during wedding shoot,
    not a must,
    but it 'helps'

  18. #18

    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong View Post
    Hi,

    I've just signed-up a tour package (with 1 of the big ones) and is about to depart in a few days time. To my surprise, i was told by the local tour guide (who will accompany us) yesterday to prepare extra cash (S$80/pax) for compulsory night tour..

    Had anyone experience this before? Is this normal?

    I think is a bit unethical, since compulsory itinerary should have been included as part of the package?

    Now i'm not sure whether to join or not to join the night tour..
    I used to work in one of the big giants, an optional tour is never made compulsory...you may lodge a complaint to the travel agent unless otherwise stated on the tour booking terms and conditions which you have signed...
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  19. #19
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    Angry Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    Quote Originally Posted by AK 47 View Post
    I used to work in one of the big giants, an optional tour is never made compulsory...you may lodge a complaint to the travel agent unless otherwise stated on the tour booking terms and conditions which you have signed...
    @AK . you are right. it's optional but the problems is my parent experienced once in China. The agent in China asked the same old Q, Going tonight to bcjcnnhdhdbdhxx.. and my parents said that they do not feel good and request to be back to hotel for rest. They did send them but the next morning the guide was late for all and the face is like carcoal ..BLACK.. What a H...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Why tour package has compulsory side tour?

    If I am not wrong, having optional side tours is allowed and is pretty much the norm...
    HOWEVER, having compulsory side tours is not allowed and you can lodge a complaint to CASE if they insist that you MUST join the side tour.
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