A grading system to categorise the level of expertise of locally licensed tourist guides is needed, Macau Tourist Guide Association President Angelina Wu Wai Fong said Monday, explaining that such a measure would encourage further training and improve service quality.
Wu spoke to reporters after the opening ceremony of the 15th International Convention of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) at a local hotel. It is the first time that the bi-annual event has been hosted by Macau. Wu is also the president of the event’s organising committee.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, Secretary General of the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Macau Cui Guochao, Deputy Foreign Ministry Commissioner Feng Tei and other senior government officials attended the ceremony.
Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said in a speech that with the rapid boom in the city’s tourism industry the opportunities and challenges that local tourist guides are facing “may be universal to all tourist guides worldwide”, adding that the five-day programme could provide an opportunity for the roughly 300 tourist guides from 30 countries and regions attending the event to learn from each other and exchange experiences.
According to Senna Fernandes, Macau’s visitor arrivals have more than tripled since 1999 to about 28 million last year and at the same time, the number of licensed tourist guides has increased three-fold to over 1,600.
“Since there isn’t a grading system, for tourist guides, it makes no difference if they take training programmes or not,” Wu was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying, pointing out that a grading system, similar to the one used in the mainland, would be a way of encouraging tourist guides to upgrade their skills as well as expand and improve their tour guide services to prevent disputes between tourists and tourist guides.
WFTGA President Rosalind Newlands told reporters that Macau tour guides should work on their language skills, such as being able to guide a tour in English or Spanish, which could help open up the city’s cultural tourism market further.(macaunews)