The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has penalised a local travel agency participating in the “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” for jeopardising its system’s functionality and apparently leading to last week’s crash.
The application system for the scheme was overloaded last week, leading to its temporary malfunction and suspension of application processing for the new “Helicopter Ride Experience.”
Initially, the MGTO admitted that the malfunction was caused by registrations for the helicopter tour. To maintain system functionality, the authority decided to suspend registration for that particular tour until further notice.
Following an investigation, the task force discovered that a local travel agency logged into the application system via a plug-in and produced an excessive number of enquiries within a very short period of time on that day causing the overload and malfunction of the system.
“The act seriously jeopardised the proper functioning of the system and violated the principle of fair competition among businesses,” the tourism bureau said in a statement.
Therefore, the MGTO has issued a severe warning and penalty to the travel agency, which is now banned from processing any applications for 14 days. Upon a repeated offence, the MGTO may terminate the agency’s eligibility for participation in the project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours.”
The registration period for the campaign’s 10 new itineraries kicked off last week, increasing the total number of itineraries to 25.
New itineraries also include an evening tour to the wetlands or a nocturnal tour to World Heritage sites, both accompanied by photography workshops taught by professional photographers.
Meanwhile, since the demand of applications for the “Helicopter Ride Experience,” is high, the MGTO has increased the quota from an initial 700 to 1,584 spaces. The campaign has already attracted more than 26,000 registrants since its launch.
Also due to the demand, the government had introduced a new draw system to select who will be able to register for the experience. Each applicant is assigned a number by the system and will be eligible for two spots to join the helicopter tour.
The popular tour, which will allow participants to take a flight around the skyline of Macao, will start from 31 July and end on 30 August. It will run Wednesdays through Sundays.
A task force was formed to take charge of the “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” project management as well as procurement, product development, pricing and quality management, among other tasks.
Sponsored by the Macao Foundation, the local tour project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” will continue until September 30. Each participant will be subsidised MOP 280 per tour taken and is entitled to a maximum subsidy of MOP 560.
As observed by the Times, the tours – particularly the community-based tours – have proved popular with families and middle-aged couples.
All tour prices available under the “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” program range from MOP 18 to MOP 418.