People walking and shopping at Kasturi Walk, Kuala Lumpur
THE Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia has approved the issuance of 50 licences for temporary Mandarin speaking tour guides to accommodate the influx of Chinese tourists during the summer holiday period.
The licences were granted on August 5 and are effective until October 15.
Uzaidi Udanis, president of the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA), described this as a “good problem” to have as it meant that Chinese demand for Malaysia is back.
He further revealed that MITA will work with institutions of higher learning to encourage more young Malaysians who can speak Mandarin to take up tourist guide courses as a long-term solution to Malaysia’s lack of Mandarin speaking guides during the peak travel periods.
This is also the first time there was a need for temporary Mandarin speaking tour guides since the MH370 incident in 2014, added Mint Leong, Deputy President 2 of MITA.
Meanwhile, Jason Ow Yeang, managing director of Columbia Leisure said he had to reject a number of group bookings in July due to the lack of guides.
“Demand from Chinese tourists have been exceptional. We’re easily seeing a 30 per cent year-to-date increase. Demand is back to the levels of three to four years ago,” he said.