Hengqin New Area government official Zhang Ximin told reporters that by 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 506 Macau and Hong Kong tour guides had applied to the island’s government for a tour-guide licence in Hengqin, according to a report by government-owned broadcaster TDM.
Zhang spoke to the media after Wednesday’s press conference about the licensing process for tour guides from Hong Kong and Macau in Hengqin, the report said.
The TDM report did not say when the application process started.
According to the report, Zhang said that the Hengqin government was planning to hold four training courses for the applicants each year, adding that the first course for 30 to 40 trainees will start next Monday in Hengqin and last three days.
Zhang also pointed out that the courses are free of charge and the trainees will even receive a one-off subsidy of 3,000 yuan upon completing their course and receiving their certificates, the report said.
Zhang told reporters that after the course, the trainees could sign contracts with designated travel agencies in Hengqin, adding that the first batch of Macau and Hong Kong tour guides could start working in Hengqin during the National Day “Golden Week” early next month, the report said.
Macau International Chartered Tourist Guide Association President Wu Wai Fong told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference that the local tourism sector has shown “great enthusiasm” for the tour-guide policy in Hengqin. However, Wu said that many tour guides in Hong Kong and Macau felt that online application process “is controversial”. She said that the applications should be handled by local travel associations instead, the report noted.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Wu also pointed out that the local tourism sector has been affected by the present Hong Kong protests, adding she believed that the tour-guide policy in Hengqin could be “the other way out” for Macau’s tourism sector, the report said.
According to the Guangdong Provincial Government official website, the policy was launched by the Guangdong Human Resources and Social Security Department in conjunction with the Guangdong Culture and Tourism Department on Monday. Hengqin is part of the adjacent city of Zhuhai.