Tourists visiting Sydney are being conned out of their money by bogus tour guides, a study commissioned by the Tourism Business Alliance has revealed.

Thousands are taken to so-called tax-free shopping outlets that are in fact warehouses selling souvenirs and other goods at inflated prices.

Some have been charged £490 for a sheepskin rug or £15 for a packet of macadamia nuts. Tourists have also been sold a product called Essence of Kangaroo, promised to be an aphrodisiac.

Visitors are also given false expectations regarding the quality of accommodation, food and beverage services they will be offered.

“They pay for what they believe will be five-star experiences and the reality is far short of the mark,” said the report.

Paid tours are often padded out by visits to free landmarks, such as beaches or memorials. “Tours often involve long day trips with little activity, including return trips to Canberra which involve little more than a brief walk around the War Memorial and Parliament House,” it said.