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Jul 20th 2010 2:23PM I work for a tour company, so this news isn't anything surprising at all. But what people generally don't know is that tour guides make most of their money from the commission they get from shopping: many guides are freelance and don't have an actual salary. They're paid relatively little for guiding a tour, and so they depend on getting these "kickbacks" and tips. The same goes for tour companies; most of the money that the customer pays for a tour goes into bus rental, air ticket and hotel fees, etc, so the actual company also doesn't make a whole lot of profit. So many also depend on the commissions from customer purchases to stay afloat.
Of course, forcing customers to buy is wrong, and to my knowledge larger tour companies strictly enforce rules that prevent this from happening. At my company if a guide is discovered to have done something like this; s/he is immediately suspended for a period of time, depending on the gravity, and blacklisted to work for other companies.
I'm not trying to justify what this guide did as right; it's not, but I feel like only one side of this situation is being taken into account and had to give my two cents.