> How to distinguish a legal tour operator from the illegal one?
For an online tour operator, the most useful means is to check the 'About Us' section of the website, which performs as a self-introduction. Here you should find the full name of the company who runs the website, as well as corresponding licenses and other related documents issued by the authority, as proof of its legitimacy. Any tour operator without the information above or the website could be fraudulent or unreliable.
> How to tell weather a tour operator has the qualifications for running tourist business in China?
(A). Firstly, if there are words like 'Travel Service' been included in the company's name, it may be. Please note that those companies named 'Network' or 'Business' have no legal right to operate tours in China although they may have a license to engage in other business activities.
(B). Secondly, check to see if the tour operator is accepted by the authoritative tourism organizations. We kindly remind you that some tour operators claim that they are members of PATA by putting the PATA logo on their web pages, which, however, is not true.
(C). A real member always has a membership number issued by PATA every year. One may tell if the tour operator is a real PATA member in two ways, as follows.
a). If the member can be found on the official website of PATA, it is the legal one.
b). The membership number should be still in valid, the authenticity of which can be checked on line.
> What should a real leading China tour operator have?
Apart from the legitimacy and qualifications for running tourist business, long-term and professional experience as well as high quality and satisfactory service make the real leader of China tours.
Here are some methods to judge the quality of a tour operator.
a). Make a phone call to the travel agency office any time, if some one picks up the phone any time you call, the travel agency may be a responsible one. If not, it is questionable.
b). Check whether they have both international and domestic toll free numbers. If not, this is an indication that they may be not reliable.
c). Being alert, when a tour operator offers you an unbelievably low price. An excessively low price probably comes together with poor service. Take meals as an example, they may provide the mass-produced meals for you, which only cost 2 to 3 dollars. You will never have the chance to taste the real Chinese food in some fine restaurants, not mention the a la carte meals.
> How can I judge the authenticity of the feedbacks from the customers?
Feedbacks or testimonials from real customers are an important assessment of the popularity and reliability of tour operators. However, some operators make the feedbacks up to heighten their popularity.
One of the most effective ways to judge is to check out weather the feedback is made through a valid email address. The real names of the customers make the feedbacks are always attached. If you have any doubts or questions, you can contact any of the customers for verification at any moment and know how they think about the travel agent.
> How make my payment security?
Security has always been the main concern for online payment. A big and reliable tour operator always offers you several ways of secure payment. Payment through a renowned online payment system like PayPal is safer and faster. When paying though cable transfer or check, please note that the payee account/address of the tour operator should be a company account/address, not a personal account/address. For people who like to use Western Union, we kindly remind you that Western Union allows personal account only, so it is better not to use it unless you fall across an emergency. If a tour agency insists that you pay to a personal account/address, or continuously persuades you to pay in cash, you should be alert.
> How can I judge the authority of a tour operator?
Popularity among the well-known media, praise by the local tourist bureau and recommendation by real customers are important criteria for you to judge the authority of a tour operator.