National Tourism Administration to Pilot Program for Freelance Tour Guides
The National Tourism Administration is piloting a freelance tour guide program in Shanghai along with eight other provinces starting this May in efforts to reduce the number of shopping trips that tourists frequently complain. Freelance tour guides are asked to sell their services through online platforms or with offline agencies and then collect service fees using a third party payment platform.
Based on a circular that is issued by the administration, the pilot program is part of a comprehensive reform on the tour guide system in China and will tap more job opportunities for tour guides and at the same time create a fair and orderly tourism market. An online pilot program is launched in Shanghai and in the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong, while in Changbai Mountains in Jilin Province, Zhangjiajie and Changsha in Huna, Sanya in Hainan Province, Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Guilin in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will pilot both online and offline services. In mid May, travel agencies and consultancies along with tourist center in major scenic spots will all be subjected to instructions by the tourism authority for the implementation of the pilot program.
Most tour guides in the selected provinces are not affiliated to any travel agencies and are operating on a freelance basis, so by implementing the pilot program will help in enhancing the supervision of the tour guides. A series of supervision measures, which includes a package of standard contracts, is launched and freelance tour guides are asked to sign contracts with legal agencies in offering services to tourists. Those caught violating the rules are fines 1,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan and a suspension or revocation of their licenses.
Tour guides are also banned in offering services other than tour guiding and will be punished for selling goods and services or recommending illegal accommodations, shopping spots and boarding options. A tourism regulator will create a national tour guide supervision platform before the month ends that will provide services including a freelance tour guide certification, a list of agencies tat offer freelance tour guide services and information in businesses.