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Foreign tourists seek interpreters over licensed tour guides

INTERNATIONAL tourists are opting for interpreters to show them around Myanmar instead of hiring tour guides, said U Tun Myat, executive member of Myanmar Tourist Guides Association, adding that they are conducting necessary evaluations.

He made the remark in a reply to the media after the 2019 Myanmar Chinese Tourist Guides meeting and Myanmar Travel Sector seminar. Scrutinizing translators

U Tun Myat said hiring interpreters instead of tourist guides is not actually legal. He said explaining about the country requires highlighting its rich cultural history and this is something only their trained tourist guides can do.

He said interpreters would only translate what they saw and if the tour group leader will only talk about what they know then it would negatively affect our country’s image, culture and history. He said this is why they are evaluating the interpreters.

Favouring interpreters

From the beginning of 2018, there was a decrease in European travellers and an increase in Chinese tourists who choose to hire interpreters to show them around, thus creating less job opportunities for Chinese-speaking tour guides. Internationally, tourist guides are the only people permitted to show foreign tourists around the area.

Daw Win Pa Pa, a Chinese- speaking tour guide, spoke of the unlicensed tour guides working in Myanmar. She said Chinese take UFL and Burmese courses and can speak the language moderately.

She said if unlicensed tour guides are not kept in check then those who can speak a bit of Burmese will lead their own groups and not hire local tour guides. She wished for authorities to take immediate action.

Other tour guides also voice their opinion for immigration checkpoints to check for tourist guide licenses.

Training qualified tour guides

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism regularly trains tourists guides and currently there are over 300 Chinese speaking guides out of 10,000.

The majority of Chinese tourists take the Mandalay tours while some enter Yangon. The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population’s statistics show that there were 112,158 Chinese tourists up to May 2018 and 266,301 for May 2019.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

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