Bali tour guides

Bali lacks Mandarin, Russian-speaking tour guides

BY WASTI ATMODJO ON 2012-11-10

While thousands of local licensed tour guides speak a second language, an industry group says that there is still a shortage of guides who can speak Mandarin and Russian, among several other languages.

According Sang Putu Sebaya, the chairman of the Bali chapter of Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI), only 5,200 of more than 8,300 licensed tour guides that have been registered with the Bali Tourism Agency were currently active in the field.

More than 1,300 of the registered guides speak English, a further 1,300 speak Japanese, 790 speak Mandarin, 650 speak Korean, 269 speak German, 169 speak French, 145 speak Italian, 111 speak Russian, 101 speak Spanish and 73 speak Dutch.

“Although we have plenty of tour guides, we are still having shortages, especially in Mandarin and Russian. The shortages are felt especially during the peak season period,” Sebaya said.

With a surging number of Chinese visitors to the island, Mandarin-speaking tour guides may handle more than 10 visitors each.

According to Sebaya, Chinese and Russian tourists were often reluctant to speak English while on vacation in Bali, so the presence of a local guide who spoke their language was important.

“Japanese and Koreans are also similarly reluctant to speak in English, although we sometimes find that they are actually able to speak English,” Sebaya said.

Separately, Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, the head of the Bali Tourism Agency, said that the isle’s tour guides were on the front line of the tourism sector in Bali.

“They are the people who understand Bali at its worst and at its best,” Subhiksu said.

Subhiksu also said that the agency followed stringent requirements for licensing tour guides that were established by the Tourism Law and Bali Gubernatorial Regulation No. 41/2009, which together regulate the issuance of tour guide IDs and certificates and promulgated rules for wearing traditional Balinese attire.

Sebaya said that ensuring an adequate number of multilingual tour guides was needed to improve the image of Bali as a world-class tourist destination.

“Language gets people to become closer and feel more comfortable. When they do, they will not hesitate to come to Bali again, while others who can’t speak English will not be reluctant to come here as well,” Sebaya aid.

Source : Bali Dayli