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June 25, 2010

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Illegal travel agencies in trouble over one-day tours

TWO illegal travel agencies offering one-day tours of Shanghai were either closed or suspended from offering certain transactions after a surprise inspection by the Shanghai Tourism board yesterday.

Tourism authorities said they would carry out more spot checks as illegal travel agencies were trying to cash in on the increasing number of people coming to the city for the World Expo.

"These illegal agencies are cheating people and stealing business from licensed agencies by offering low prices," said Gu Jianbin, director of the bureau's market management department.

These small travel agencies have mainly emerged around Shanghai Railway Station in Zhabei District and Shanghai South Railway Station in Xuhui District.

They attract visitors with cheap tours, ranging from 150 yuan (US$22) to 250 yuan for a one-day package.

However, the low-cost tours often include lengthy stops at designated shopping venues, tourism officials warned.

Some illegal agencies used vaguely worded contracts that indicate stops at certain stores, but this was not mentioned in introduction leaflets, officials said.


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