Shanghai tourism authorities Thursday denied knowing anything about unlicensed tour guides being used by local travel agencies, but said that if companies were caught carrying out such a practice, they would be punished according to law.
The Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration made the comments Thursday after local media reported that travel agencies have taken to hiring unlicensed tour guides to meet increased demand from customers during the peak summer season, when travel to the city is popular among tourists from outside areas.
According to local tourism regulations, travel agencies that employ unlicensed guides risk a suspension of 15 to 30 days, and fines ranging from 5,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan ($782 to $3,128) if caught repeating the violation. An agency can also lose its license in serious cases.
But despite some 22,000 licensed tour guides in the city, more than a dozen small travel agencies told the Global Times Thursday that they are willing to consider unqualified hires at this time due to heightened customer demand.
A recruitment manager, surnamed Zheng, from Shanghai Yuan Yang travel agency, told the Global Times Thursday, however, that unlicensed tour guides will be provided with training to prepare them for the job.