Laws of the People's Republic of China
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(Effective Date 1996.10.15)
CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS
CHAPTER II ESTABLISHMENT OF TRAVEL AGENCIES
CHAPTER III MANAGEMENT OF TRAVEL AGENCIES
CHAPTER IV SUPERVISION AND EXAMINATION
CHAPTER V RULES OF PUNISHMENT
CHAPTER VI SUPPLEMENTARY RULES
Article 1 These Regulations are promulgated hereby to strengthen management of travel agencies, guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of tourists and travel agencies, maintain the order of the tourist market, and promote the healthy development of the tourist industry.
Article 2 These Regulations are applicable to travel agencies set up inside the People's Republic of China and the permanent representative offices set up by foreign travel agencies inside the People's Republic of China (hereafter referred to as foreign representative offices).
Article 3 Travel agencies as used in these Regulations refer to enterprises engaged in tourist businesses for profit purposes.
Tourist businesses as used in these Regulations refer to businesses such as completion of exit, entry, and visa procedures on behalf of tourists; soliciting and reception of tourists; arrangement of accommodation for tourists; and providing of other paid services to tourists.
Article 4 The tourism administration department under the State Council shall take charge of the supervision and management of all travel agencies across the whole country.
Tourism administration departments under people's governments at the county level and above shall take charge of the supervision and management of travel agencies in areas under their jurisdiction according to their limits of power.
The departments referred to in the first and second clauses of this article are called tourism administration departments indiscriminately.
Article 5 Travel agencies shall be divided into international travel agencies and domestic travel agencies according to their line of businesses.
The business scope of international travel agencies covers the business of inbound and outbound tourists and domestic tourists.
The business scope of domestic travel agencies is limited to domestic tourist businesses only.
CHAPTER II ESTABLISHMENT OF TRAVEL AGENCIES
Article 6 Those establishing travel agencies shall meet the following conditions:
1. Fixed business venues.
2. Necessary business facilities.
3. Business personnel who have received training and qualification certificates from tourism administration departments under people's governments at the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal level.
4. Registered capital and quality assurance funds as stipulated in articles 7 and 8 of these Regulations.
Article 7 The registered capital of travel agencies shall meet the following conditions:
1. No less than 1.5 million Renminbi yuan for international travel agencies.
2. No less than 300,000 Renminbi yuan for domestic travel agencies.
Article 8 Those applying for the establishment of travel agencies shall pay tourism administration departments quality assurance funds according to the following criteria:
1. 600,000 Renminbi yuan for international travel agencies handling inbound tourist businesses and 1 million Renminbi yuan for those handling outbound tourist businesses.
2. 100,000 Renminbi yuan for domestic travel agencies.
The quality assurance funds and the interests arising therefrom during the period of management of travel agencies by tourism administration departments shall belong to travel agencies. Tourism administration departments may extract a certain proportion of the interests as their management expenses in line with relevant State regulations.
Article 9 Those applying for the establishment of international travel agencies shall file applications to local tourism administration departments under people's governments at the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal level. If approval is given, these departments shall report the applications to the tourism administration department under the State Council for examination and approval.
Those applying for the establishment of domestic travel agencies shall file applications to tourism administration departments at the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal level for approval.
Article 10 Those applying for the establishment of travel agencies shall present the following documents:
1. Application for establishment.
2. Feasibility study report on the establishment of the travel agencies.
3. Constitutions of travel agencies.
4. Resumes of the manager and the deputy manager(s) and qualifications as stipulations in the third clause of Article 6 of these Regulations.
5. Credit certificate provided by the bank of deposit, and capital verification report provided by certified public accountants and their firm or an auditing office.
6. Certificate of business venue.
7. Certificate of business facilities.
Article 11 After receiving applications, tourism administration departments shall carry out examination and verification according the following principles:
1. Conformity with the programme for the development of tourism.
2. Satisfaction with the demand of the tourist market.
3. Meeting of conditions specified in Article 6 of these Regulations.
Tourism administration departments shall decide on approval or disapproval within 30 days after receiving applications and inform applicants of their decision.
Article 12 Tourism administration departments shall issue Business Permit for Travel Agencies to applicants who have won approval after examination. These applicants shall apply for business licenses from industrial and commercial administrations on the strength of their Business Permit for Travel Agencies.
Those who have not been issued Business Permit for Travel Agencies shall not engage in tourist businesses.
Article 13 Travel agencies that change their scope of businesses shall go through alteration procedures with industrial and commercial administrations after reporting for examination and approval to the tourism administration departments that have given examination and approval in the first place.
Travel agencies altering their names, business venues or legal representatives or closing their businesses shall go through alteration procedures or cancellation registration with industrial and commercial administrations, and report their cases for the record by tourism administration departments that have given examination and approval in the first place.
Article 14 Tourism administration departments shall implement the system of public notification among travel agencies. Public notices shall include inauguration notice, notice on the change of name, notice on the alteration of business scope, notice on business closure, and notice on the revocation of business permit.
Article 15 Travel agencies that receive more than 100,000 people/time a year may set up branches without legal person status (hereinafter referred to as branches).
International travel agencies shall increase their registered capital by 750,000 Renminbi yuan and their assurance funds by 300,000 Renminbi yuan for each branch they set up. Domestic travel agencies shall increase their registered capital by 150,000 Renminbi yuan and assurance funds by 50,000 Renminbi yuan for each branch they set up.
Travel agencies and their branches shall exercise unified management, have unified finance, and solicit and receive tourists in a unified way.
The branches set up by travel agencies shall subject themselves to the supervision and management by tourism administrations under local people's governments at and above the county level.
Article 16 Those applying for the establishment of Sino-foreign equity or contractual travel agency joint ventures shall go through procedures in line with stipulations in relevant laws and administrative decrees after reporting for approval in line with relevant stipulations of the State Council.
Article 17 Foreign travel agencies that set up resident offices in the People's Republic of China shall report for approval to the tourism administration department under the State Council.
These resident offices can only take up tourism consulting, liaison, and promotion work. They shall not engage in tourism businesses.
CHAPTER III MANAGEMENT OF TRAVEL AGENCIES
Article 18 Travel agencies shall conduct businesses within specified business scope.
Travel agencies shall observe the principle of voluntariness, equality, fairness, honesty, and creditability; and conform with business ethics during their operations.
Article 19 When conducting tourism businesses, travel agencies shall not, resort to illegitimate tricks as listed below to harm their competitors:
(1) Imitation of the trademarks of other travel agencies.
(2) Unauthorized use of the titles of other travel agencies.
(3) Defamation of other travel agencies.
(4) Entrustment of tourism businesses to units other than travel agencies or individuals not working with travel agencies.
(5) Other behaviours that disturb the order of tourism markets.
Article 20 Written contracts shall be signed between travel agencies and their employees to prescribe their respective rights and obligations.
Without approval from travel agencies, employees shall not disclose or use the commercial secrets of these agencies or allow others to use these secrets.
Article 21 Travel agencies shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of tourists.
Travel agencies shall provide tourists with true and reliable information. They shall not carry out false publicity activities.
Article 22 When organizing sightseeing activities, travel agencies shall buy casualty insurance for tourists and see to it that the services they provide satisfy the demand of guaranteeing the personal and property safety of tourists. In case of possible incidents that may endanger the personal or property safety of tourists, travel agencies shall give honest explanations and clear warnings, while taking measures to prevent the occurrence of these incidents.
Article 23 Travelling services provided by travel agencies to tourists shall be charged according to State stipulations. If travel agencies provide additional services and as a result increase charges, beforehand approval shall be won from tourists.
Travel agencies shall present service vouches to tourists in line with relevant State stipulations if they provide services with pay.
Article 24 Tourists shall have the right to lodge complaints with tourism administrations should they suffer losses from any one of the following developments:
(1) Failure of travel agencies to meet standards on service quality as specified in contracts due to their own faults.
(2) Failure of travel agencies to meet State or sectorial standards when providing services.
(3) Loss of down payments by tourists due to bankruptcy of travel agencies.
Tourism administrations shall hear complaints of tourists and handle cases in line with stipulations of these Regulations.
Article 25 The guides engaged by travel agencies for the purpose of receiving tourists and the leaders they engage to organize overseas tours shall have qualification certificates issued by tourism administrations under people's governments at and above the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal level.
Article 26 When organizing overseas tours, travel agencies shall sign written agreements with travel agencies in relevant countries or regions that have been set up in accordance with law and that have good reputation before entrusting them to take up reception work.
Should any harm be done to the rights or interests of tourists due to violation of agreements by overseas travel agencies, domestic travel agencies that organize the overseas tours shall shoulder the responsibility over compensation before recovering losses from the violating travel agencies.
Article 27 Travel agencies shall keep complete records on their solicitation and reception of tourists, and keep relevant documents and data for examination by tourism administrations.
CHAPTER IV SUPERVISION AND EXAMINATION
Article 28 Tourism administrations shall strengthen their supervision and management of travel agencies and the resident offices of foreign travel agencies in accordance with law so as to maintain the order of tourism markets.
Article 29 Travel agencies shall subject their service quality, travelling safety, price officer, accounting books, foreign exchange revenues and expenditures, and other business activities to the supervision and examination of tourism administrations.
The staff of tourism administrations shall produce certificates when performing supervision and examination duties.
Article 30 Tourism administrations shall carry out examinations of travel agencies once a year. Travel agencies shall present annual examination reports, balance sheets, financial statements, and other relevant documents and data as required by tourism administrations.
Article 31 Tourism administrations shall strengthen financial management of quality assurance funds and use these funds to compensate economic losses of tourists in line with relevant State stipulations. No units or individuals shall use these funds for any other purposes.
Article 32 Those that violate stipulations in the second clause of Article 12 of these Regulations or the second clause of Article 17 of these Regulations shall be ordered by tourism administrations to stop their illegal operations. Their unlawful incomes shall also be confiscated plus a fine of between 10,000 and 50,000 Renminbi yuan.
Article 33 Those that violate stipulations in the first clause of Article 18, Article 22, the first clause of Article 23, article 25, and the first clause of Article 26 of these Regulations shall be ordered by tourism administrations to make corrections within prescribed periods of time. If any illegal incomes have been earned, these incomes shall be confiscated. Those that fail to make corrections within prescribed periods of time shall be ordered to close businesses for consolidation for 15-30 days, and a fine of between 5,000 and 20,000 Renminbi yuan may be imposed. The Business Permits for travel agencies may also be revoked for those that get involved in serious cases.
Article 34 Those that violate stipulations in Article 19 and the second clause of Article 21 of these Regulations shall be punished in accordance with relevant stipulations in the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China and the Law of the People's Republic of China on Combating Unfair Competitions.
Article 35 Those that violate stipulations in Article 27 and the first clause of Article 29 of these Regulations shall be ordered by tourism administrations to make improvements within prescribed periods of time, and given a warning. Those that fail to make corrections accordingly shall be ordered to close business for consolidation for 3-15 days, and a fine of between 3,000 and 10,000 Renminbi yuan may also be imposed.
Article 36 Travel agencies whose Business Permits for Travel Agencies have been revoked shall have their business licenses revoked by industrial and commercial administrations.
Article 37 Tourism administrations handling complaints specified in Article 24 of these Regulations shall, if they prove the cases to be true, order travel agencies to compensate the actual losses of tourists. If travel agencies refuse or are unable to make compensations, tourism administrations can make extractions from the quality assurance funds paid by these travel agencies.
Article 38 Should tourism administrations violate stipulations in these Regulations by causing the development of one of the following cases, the persons in charge and other persons directly involved shall be disciplined administratively in accordance with law:
(1) Refusal to issue Business Permits for Travel Agencies to qualified applicants.
(2) Unauthorized issuance of Business Permits for Travel Agencies to disqualified applicants.
Article 39 The staff of tourism administrations who neglect their duties, usurp their powers, or do wrongs to serve their friends or relatives shall be asked to shoulder legal responsibilities if their cases are so serious as to be criminal, or be disciplined administratively if their cases are not so serious as to be criminal.
Article 40 These Regulations shall take effect as of the date of promulgation. The Provisional Regulations on the Management of Travel Agencies promulgated by the State Council on May 11, 1985 shall be nullified at the same time.