Regulations on Travel Agencies (Revised in 2017)

Regulations on Travel Agencies (Revised in 2017)
Regulations on Travel Agencies (Revised in 2017)

Order of the State Council of the People's Republic of China No.676

March 1, 2017

(Promulgated by the Order of the State Council of the People's Republic of China No.550 on February 20, 2009; revised for the first time in accordance with the Decision of the State Council on Revising Certain Administrative Regulations on February 6, 2016; and revised for the second time according to the Decision of the State Council on Revising and Repealing Certain Administrative Regulations on March 1, 2017)

Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1 These Regulations are hereby promulgated 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 the establishment and business of the travel agencies within the territory of the People's Republic of China.
The travel agencies as mentioned in these Regulations refer to the operation activities entities engaged in domestic tourist business, inbound tourist business, or outbound tourist business, including soliciting for, organizing and receiving tourists and providing other tourist services to the tourists.

Article 3 The tourism competent authorities under the State Council shall take charge of the supervision and management of all travel agencies across the whole country.
The tourism administration departments under the people's governments at the county level or above shall be in charge of the supervision and management of travel agencies within their respective jurisdictions in accordance with their limits of power.
The departments of industry and commerce, price, business, foreign currency, etc. under the people's governments at the county level or above shall, in accordance with their limits of power, carry out supervision and management on the travel agencies in accordance with the law.

Article 4 While carrying out operation activities, the travel agencies shall observe the principles of voluntariness, equity, fairness, honesty, and creditability to improve service quality and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the tourists.

Article 5 The travel agencies industrial associations shall, in accordance with their regulations, provide the travel agencies with services, play a coordinating and self-discipline role, and guide the travel agencies to operate legally, fairly, and honestly.

Chapter II Establishment of Travel Agencies

Article 6 To apply for engaging in domestic tourist business and inbound tourist business, the applicant shall have corporate capacity, with a registered capital of not less than CNY 300,000.

Article 7 To apply for engaging in domestic tourist business and inbound tourist business, the applicant shall file an application with the competent tourism administration in the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under central government where it is domiciled or the competent tourism administration in the city divided into districts which has been entrusted and submit related documents as prescribed in Article 6 herein. And the competent tourism administration accepting the application shall make a decision whether or not to grant approval within 20 working days upon receiving the application. The administration shall grant the travel agency business license to the applicant if the application is approved, otherwise it shall notify the applicant of reasons in writing.

Article 8 The travel agencies which have obtained the business license for over 2 years and have not been fined or punished by other more severe means by administrative organs due to infringement of the legitimate rights and interests of any tourist, may apply for outbound tourist business.

Article 9 Where a travel agency desires to engage in outbound tourist business, it shall apply to the competent tourist authorities under the State Council or the local tourism administration department at the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government entrusted by the competent tourist authorities. The tourism administration department receiving application shall, within 20 working days upon receipt thereof, make decision of granting or not granting permission. Where permission is granted, the tourism administration department shall reissue a new license for business operations of travel agencies to the applicant. Where permission is not granted, the tourism administration department shall notify the applicant in written form and specify the reasons.

Article 10 Where a travel agency desires to establish branch(es) it shall register at the administrative department for industry and commerce at the place(s) where the branch(es) are located, and shall report to the local tourism administration department at the place(s) where the branch(es) are located for archival purpose within three working days since the date of registration.
The establishment of branch(es) of a travel agency is free of geographical restrictions. The business scope of a branch of a travel agency shall not exceed that of the travel agency.

Article 11 The travel agencies establishing service networks specialized in soliciting tourists and providing tourist consultations (hereinafter referred to as service networks of travel agencies) shall, in accordance with the law, go through registration procedures for establishment at the administrative department for industry and commerce and report to the local tourism administration department for archival purpose.
The service networks of travel agencies shall accept the unified management of travel agencies and shall not engage in activities other than soliciting and consultation.

Article 12 A travel agency altering its name, business venue or legal
representative or closing their businesses shall go through alteration procedures or cancellation registration at the administrative department for industry and commerce, and report to the tourism administration department that has previously granted permission within 10 working days as of the date when registrations are completed, to change or return the license for business operations of travel agencies.

Article 13 The travel agencies shall, within 3 working days since acquisition of the travel agency business licenses, open a special account of quality bond at the bank designated by the competent tourist authorities under the State Council, save the quality bond, or provide the tourism administration department granting permission with legally-acquired bank guarantee whose amounts are not lower than corresponding quality bond.
The travel agencies engaged in domestic tourist businesses and inbound tourism businesses shall save CNY200,000 of quality bond and the travel agencies engaged in outbound tourism businesses shall save CNY1,200,000 of quality bond in addition to the said CNY200,000.
The interests of the quality bond shall belong to the travel agencies.

Article 14 A travel agency shall save another CNY50,000 into the account of quality bond for establishment of each branch engaged in domestic tourist business and inbound tourist business, and shall save another CNY300,000 into the account of quality bond for establishment of each branch engaged in outbound tourist business.

Article 15 Under any of the following cases, the tourism administration department can use the quality bond of the travel agencies:
1 The travel agencies, in violation of the tourism contracts, infringe the legitimate rights and interests of tourists, which are verified by the tourism administration department; or
2 The travel agencies cause losses of the advance tourism payments of the tourists due to dissolution, bankruptcy or any other reason.

Article 16 Where the judgments and verdicts of the People's Court or other valid legal instruments show that the travel agencies have damaged the legitimate rights and interests of tourists, and the travel agencies refuse to or are unable to compensate, the people's court may deduct compensations from the travel agencies' accounts of quality bond.

Article 17 Where a travel agency is not fined or punished by other more severe means by the administrative organs due to infringement of the legitimate rights and interests of tourists within three years since payment or complementarity of quality bond, the tourism administration department shall reduce the quality bond of the travel agency by 50% and make announcement.
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