By Tom Bannister
Photo for illustrative purposes only.
A Chinese tour group are complaining about being conned by an unlicensed New Zealand tour operator, in what is possibly the first push of an antipodean fight-back against one too many tea ceremony cons.
The group consisted of eleven Chinese tourists who, whilst visiting the country, signed up for an Auckland tour just before Christmas. They claim that the company – the ‘Xing Yu [Lucky Jade] Sightseeing Company‘ – promised that their visit would take them to many of the city’s sites of interest. Instead they were taken to a number of free public events and charity gatherings. In the undoubted highlight of the tour they were taken to a charity Christmas meal – intended for the unemployed and homeless – and told that it was a normal event that the the New Zealand government always organised for its lucky citizens.The New Zealand Herald described these discrepancies between brochure and reality as:
What they were promised:
– A grand Christmas buffet, cultural dinner and a great Kiwi barbecue
– Admission to a farm park with farm shows, shearing and milking
– Visit to a wildlife reserve with endangered native birds
– Geysers, mud pools and a soak in Rotorua hot mineral pool
What they actually got:
– Auckland City Mission charity Christmas lunch
– Vegetarian dinner by an “Indian” spiritual group, for which they had to chant, sing and dance
– A sausage sizzle on a public barbecue pit
– Council-funded Ambury Farm Park and Western Springs
– Rotorua’s public Kuirau Park and a soak at its free foot bath
When the tourists began to latch on to the cheapskate ploys of the company, they were understandably a bit disappointed. The Herald quotes a Mr Xi as saying:
“I thought it was a real bargain, but the main reason we decided to go with him was because we thought it would be handy to have a local guide who spoke Mandarin…I was shocked to find out later from media reports that the Christmas lunch was a charity lunch for the poor and homeless, and that most of the places we had been taken to were free and were not meant for tourists.”
New Zealand officials said they were investigating the matter and that the incident highlighted the risks involved with signing up to an unlicensed tour group.
[via] New Zealand Herald