No policy to allow foreigners to work as tour guides in Thailand

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BANGKOK – The Prime Minister has stressed the government’s position to eliminate illegal foreign tour guides, and will work towards the creation of multilingual Thai tour guides to fulfill international tourism demands.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had said regarding the issue where the Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand is preparing to submit a complaint to the government to solve the issue of illegal foreign tour guides and tour operators which only lead tourists to purchase products from their affiliated shops, that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has been instructed to handle this issue.

He has said tour guides are a protected profession that only Thais are allowed to perform according to the law, and that the related agencies have been working with tour guides and travel agencies to address this issue.

The Prime Minister has however accepted that Thailand is in shortage of tour guides in stark contrast to the increasing number of foreign visitors each year.

As of 30 June 2017, Thailand has 70,655 registered tour guides, 46,880 are categorized as general guides, while 19,154 are area-specific guides. Most tour guides are proficient in English, followed by Chinese and Japanese.

The Prime Minister has instructed the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to work with the Ministry of Education to plan the promotion of tour guide training in order to create more tour guides, and improve the existing guides’ language proficiency, according to demands.

He has then reassured that the government is working to identify any illegal tours which only bring tourists to purchase items at their affiliated shops, and is working with Chinese authorities to eradicate the zero-dollar tour through strict verification protocols.