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Three tour operators suspended under ads code.



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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

THREE TOUR OPERATORS SUSPENDED UNDER ADS CODE

Three tour operators have been suspended from the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme, a bilateral agreement between Australia and the People's Republic of China which facilitates the travel of organised tour groups from China to Australia.

Tour operators are required to comply with the ADS Code of Business Standards and Ethics to ensure integrity, competition and fair trading in the inbound Chinese tour market.

To be approved as an inbound tour operator under ADS, all operators sign a declaration agreeing to comply with and uphold the Code. Compliance checks are carried out by the Department of Tourism, as the compliance monitoring agency, to maintain the integrity of the code.

"The 57 Australian tour operators approved under ADS are monitored throughout the year," the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said.

"Under the code, the Minister for Tourism has notified me that operators have been cited for non-compliance. Continued non-compliance results in a breach which may lead to a suspension.

“I have suspended three agencies for continually failing to meet their obligations, such as failing to follow itineraries, provide details of commissions from suppliers, or comply with directions from the compliance monitoring agency."

Honey Travel and Tours Agency, and Great World Travel, both in NSW, along with Australia Bound Travel Pty Ltd in Victoria have been cited as failing to meet various provisions of the Code.

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said: "The Australian Government takes ADS breaches seriously as they have the potential to have long-term negative impacts on the reputation of Australian tourism from China.

"China is our fastest-growing market. In 2007, Chinese visitor arrivals to Australia increased 15.9 per cent to 357 400, compared with 2006.

"The Tourism Forecasting Committee estimates visitor arrivals from China will increase at an average annual rate of 13.0 per cent in 2006-2016 period, with arrivals to reach 1.1 million in 2016 and be worth $5.2 billion in 2016.

"These suspensions send a strong message that rogue operators will not be tolerated in the industry.

"This is why the Rudd Government is committed to the introduction of a national accreditation scheme for tourism operators.

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The H

on Martin Ferguson AM MP

30 Apr 2008

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"The cost-affordable voluntary scheme is one of several mechanisms that will help stamp out operators that tarnish Australia's reputation while also enhancing our brand in giving visitors confidence in choosing a quality product," he said.

Media inquiries: Minister Evans' Office: Simon Dowding - 0411 138 541 Minister Ferguson's Office: Michael Bradley - 0420 371 744

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