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Mass Phuket Protest at China Guides 'Takeover'
Monday, April 29, 2013
PHUKET: About 200 guides and would-be guides protested today at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City, calling for a crackdown on Chinese guides.
Although the focus recently has been on Russian businesses in tourism on Phuket, attention swung to the Chinese market with today's mass demonstration.
The group waved banners and presented a petition to Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak. He met with several members of the group, led by Jai Foo Saelee.
While some Thais worked as sitting guides, many Chinese tour guides came on tourist visas with package tour groups, the vice governor was told. Similar problems existed with Russians and Koreans.
The vast increase in the numbers of tourists coming to Phuket from China had exacerbated the problem, Aparat Chutikamjoh, who presented the petition.
''There should be a crackdown to save the jobs of Thai guides,'' she said. ''These so called guides sometimes have no knowledge of Phuket or its history.''
About 2000 people on Phuket wanted to be Chinese language guides but only 80 new guides could be created each year.
''The result is that there are now not enough guides,'' Khun Aparat said. ''We'd like the Governor to approve more so that Thai guides can take advantage of the surge in Chinese tourism.''
She said there were no longer any Thai guides who speak Chinese in Bangkok because the Chinese nationals had taken over.
Vice Governor Somkiet said he would urge the Governor to have the matter investigated.
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Do they realize if they have language knowledge of Chinese or Russian... Most of them even can't speak English.. Education first and must. Instead of creating problem with your own weak points try to improve yourself.
April 29, 2013 13:54
Why would Thai guides for Chinese and Russians need to speak English?
Okay, does anyone actually believe that there are a sufficient number of Thai Guides that speak Chinese fluent enough to explain Phuket / Thai history?
I don't know many Thai guides that can explain the history in Thai!!!
If Thai guides could speak Chinese fluently (or Russian, Korean... whatever todays topic of choice is) companies would hire and use them.
Companies will hire and use the best employee for the job. They will hire whomever is best to represent their company.
They will hire whomever can DO the job the right way, not some half-baked guide who wants / expects the job because they are entitled to it.
Thai Guides - prove you are not only licensed - prove you have the interest of the companies you are working for in mind (ex. Not figuring out ways to make more money from commission stops, etc.) Prove you have the language skills and knowledge to deliver the history of Thailand to visitors in their native tongue.
Companies both Thai and foreign owned partnerships would LOVE to hire Thai guides - a lot less headaches for everyone - BUT until there are TRULY PROFESSIONAL guides available that are willing to put in a good days work and properly represent the company as they wish - AND speak whatever foreign language fluently - No one will hire a worthless employee no matter what their nationality.
Another very important issue - are these Thai guides able to handle an emergency situation in the visitors native tongue?
Do they have CPR / First Aid certification?
I would love to see a newsworthy investigation into what it takes to become a licensed Thai Tour Guide.
ASEAN is coming and things like this are only going to make it worse for the Thai people - start preparing for a tighter job market based on skills and hard work or be prepared to move to Malasia and be a maid or factory worker there.
April 29, 2013 14:46
First they say:-
''There should be a crackdown to save the jobs of Thai guides,''
Then they say:-
''The result is that there are now not enough guides,''
I don't get it.
April 29, 2013 14:49
We have the same problem with Divemasters and diving Instructors as too many are flouting the laws.
Note that switzerland are closing the door to European countries for working in Switzerland so in Thailand do not expect to be welcome as too many werterners may think.
Coming as a tourist or true investors in factories with hundred of Thai staffs is welcome by the thai government but competiting in small businesses and jobs most of thais may be able to do is another question and ASEAN at the end of 2015 will close the door to more Europeans as Thailand may have too many ASEAN people coming to work in Thailand.
April 29, 2013 15:07
Why would Thai guides for Chinese and Russians need to speak English?
" Most of them even can't speak English " please re read the full sentences.
April 29, 2013 15:08
Been on trips with Thai guides, didn't understand a thing, would have been great with a guide from England, Sweden or Norway, if the guides speak Mandarin as bad as they speak English then I can understand the Chinese tour company's. Its got nothing to do with Chinese guides stealing jobs, if the Thai guide was good enough they would still have the job.
April 29, 2013 15:09
can't wait for asean workers to arrive and see thailand being much worst than "nationalist"
April 29, 2013 15:21
Thai guides for Chinese and Russians don't need to speak English but the 1st comment means if they couldn't even speak English properly, how they could speak 3rd langage fluently. In Thai English has been taught as 2nd language but look at how fluent some Thai could speak it
April 29, 2013 16:22
I might have some confidence in the Chinese language abilities of these Thai guides if they had managed to write some of their demonstration banners in Chinese language...
April 29, 2013 16:24
They need to be clear on this as overseas guides often accompany tour groups as they have to oversee airport arrangements from beginning, be with them 24/7 once in Phuket and then fly back with them. A Thai guide will often join them on the ground for the land arrangements. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement as these guides are not permanently hired by the local agencies but are escorting the group? Local guide are also used to assist with communications with hotels as they speak both Chinese and Thai, while overseas guides only converse in Chinese. Are they also persecuting these overseas guides who accompany each group?
In Singapore when you buy a package tour say to Europe, the Singaporean guide will go along as they have to facilitate airport check-ins etc and accompany all the way there and back home. This is how Asian tour packages work.
April 29, 2013 16:54
'These so called guides sometimes have no knowledge of Phuket or its history.''- funny you could day the same thing about the majority of the Thai guides as well. If more local guides in conjunction with TAT (who seem to want ever increasing tourist numbers got together and produced a language program progress could be made. Unfortanetely when things aren't going the way some people want its time to bash the naughty foreigners again for 'stealing' jobs.
Ed I think Anon's point was that if the most common language of visitors isn't being grasped after 30-40 years of tourism the likelihood of mandarin, Russian, Hindi, etc being on the curriculum are low on the list.
April 29, 2013 17:05
once again in typical Thai fashion they blame everyone else but themselves for not seeing the forcasted influx of Chinese, Korean or Russian visitors some time ago! As the saying goes: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Language skills are in short supply here for tourism, just go and ask for help at most retail outlets or experience the majority of tour guides here struggling to cope with the desired language. Tired of reading the Thai's crying wolf, too many of their issues are self inflicted, be it Tuk Tuk's, tour guides, taxi's etc....
April 29, 2013 18:23
you can bet Burma,Vietnam and Co will accommodate their foreign guests with tour guides with the relevant language skill set and attitude that are lacking here on the most part.
April 29, 2013 18:47
Competing on a level playing field is not how Thai business works. People are accustomed to one large company getting monopoly position by paying the largest bribes.
Skills have nothing to do with it and thus these Thai tour guides will not understand the need to acquire them. Obvious from the excellent points made by Simon L and Mr Ree.
Thai law stipulates that tour guide employment is for Thai nationals only and unfortunately on that basis their claim is legitimate.
If that law is timely and beneficial to Thailand, is a separate question.
Visitors around the world prefer service in their native language. If Thai law and authorities keep barring native guides working together with Thai guides, the visitors will eventually go somewhere else where such artificial barriers do not exist.
Come AEC and you will see plenty of Vietnamese fluent in Russian coming over. Not so long ago it was still the most popular choice of 1st foreign language in schools and as a consequence there is a large adult population fluent in Russian.
For Chinese speakers I'd look in Laos along the towns bordering China.
My message to Thai tour guides is - learn the skills needed to do your jobs or change your profession. Just because you were born Thai doesn't mean you are qualified.
April 29, 2013 19:17
you can bet Burma,Vietnam and Co will accommodate their foreign guests with tour guides with the relevant language skill set
An interesting comment, and from where I was sitting just 10 minutes ago, (in a street restaurant in downtown Yangon, Myanmar), I noticed separate groups of passing foreign tourists with their Burmese tour guides - speaking Italian, English, Spanish, German and Chinese.......
April 29, 2013 19:37
I remember watching a Thai tour guide step out of the bus while a small group disembarked at Big Buddha..
The guides one and only gem of information to them was "you can pay donation over there" and got straight back on the bus, not taking 5 steps from it. The group just looked around at each other and started walking off around the car park on their own.
April 30, 2013 07:25
The problem is that the Thai administration controls closely the reported large companies where standards are more stringent and does not care at all the rest of illegal businesses ot those not properly registered or are registered with fake official documents through greedy lawyers or accounting office.
May 3, 2013 15:04