11 Jun 2012
BANGKOK, June 11 (Bernama) -- The Greater Mekong Sub-region needs tour guides with better foreign language skills to sustain tourism growth, a recent study finds.
That was underscored on Sunday during the 'GMS Tour Guide Workshop,' at Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand's northern Chiang Rai Province, Thai News Agency reported.
Speaking as a panelist, Director-General of Thailand's Tourism Department Supol Sripan, warned that most tour guides in the GMS still could not speak Chinese or Korean, and they also had limited knowledge of cultures beyond their own.
He added that a lack in the knowledge had allowed foreign tourists to travel elsewhere.
With the tourism industry poised to grow further from the start of the Asean Economic Community in 2015, he said studying a language besides English was now mandatory for tour guides.
More than 100 tour guides from six GMS countries took part in the programme, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Several experts also presented their ideas, including former Thai ambassador to Tokyo Suwit Simasakul.