TRAVEL and tourism bodies in the Philippines are banding together to combat the dearth of Korean-speaking tour guides in the country by launching language courses before the year-end.
The Tourism Industry Board Foundation – comprised of tourism players from government, private sector and labour – in tandem with Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) and the Korea National Tourist Organization, are currently in discussions on the plan.
The course will be made up of two modules, each comprising eight Saturday lessons for 3,000 pesos (US$67).
John Paul Cabalza, president of PTAA, said: “We need to train guides because while South Korea is the country’s biggest market, comprising 1.2 million or 25 per cent of total visitors in 2013, there’s only one local tour guide who speaks Korean – and she’s not even working full time.”
“There is a demand for Korean-speaking guides, but no supply,” he said.
Cebu, a favourite destination among South Koreans, has 200 Korean tour guides that make up half of the destination’s total number of guides last year, said a government official.
However, Korean-speaking guides active in the tourism sector are usually also tourists to the Philippines, including those studying English as a second language or other courses.