How it works:
- Version 1:
- The Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources found that Chinese tourists were being ripped off by shady tour operators who exploit their unfamiliarity with English.
- For instance, operators have charged tourists $100 each to walk on Bondi Beach, which is free, by pointing to a random sign claiming that is the fee stipulated by the government!
- Tourists have also been charged for having their photographs taken in front of tourist attractions, such as the Sydney Opera House!
- Version 2:
- Operator keeps your passport and only returns it when a certain amount is spent at bogus, back street shops which they bring you to.
- Version 3:
- Other tricks: providing poor accommodation, long bus journeys with little activity, bringing to shops/restaurants where operators get a cut.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) also has some classic tours (e.g. Great Barrier Reef catamaran cruise, Blue Mountains tour, Great Ocean Road tour, etc).