Be careful hiring a tour guide in Thailand if you’re Chinese, Korean or Russian
With the latest decision from Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, be careful hiring a tour guide in Thailand if you’re Chinese, Korean or Russian. Why am I saying that? That’s because, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak, Thailand is so desperate for tour guides for Chinese, Korean and Russian tourists, they are now lowering qualifications for tour guides in Thailand to allow someone who has nothing more than a Grade 4 education to be a guide — as long as they speak ‘some’ Chinese, Korean or Russian.
Idiocy abounds in Thailand, we all know this. Not usually from the average Thai but from government ministers who often seem to be the stupidest people in the kingdom when it comes to making decisions that need to be beneficial for the population and for visitors to Thailand.
But the latest decision to lower qualifications for Thai tour guides to those with a Grade 4 education is not only demeaning to those Thais who have gone to school for years to get a Bachelors degree so they could be qualified tour guides, it’s also an absolute rip-off for Chinese, Korean and Russian tourists who may soon have to pay for low-quality, unqualified guides.
Why are qualifications for tour guides in Thailand being lowered?
According to the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, this idiotic decision is apparently because Thailand has a shortage of tour guides who speak Chinese, Korean or Russian. That is why the qualifications for a Thai tour guide are being lowered so drastically.
I do have to ask, however, how many Thais have you met with a Grade 4 education, who can speak Chinese, Korean or Russian? I’ve been in Thailand 10 years, and I don’t know any.
Why does Thailand not hire non-Thai tour guides?
Honestly, sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with Thailand. Any other country, faced with a shortage of qualified tour guides, would open up jobs to tour guides from other countries — and specifically those from China, Korea and Russia, if guides who speak languages from these countries are needed.
Thailand, on the other hand, being the xenophobic country it still is, does not allow non-Thais to do most jobs including the job of tour guide, which is a ‘restricted occupation’, so that solution is out.
The result? A plethora of poorly educated Thais who aren’t remotely qualified for the jobs they are being given, and foreign tourists who are not only going to be ripped off by the Thai government, but could potentially be put in a dangerous position with an unqualified tour guide unable to help.
What can you do to ensure your tour guide in Thailand is qualified if you are Chinese, Korean or Russian?
Only hire a tour guide in Thailand through a company that has been recommended to you by someone you know, or that has a good reputation from reviews you can read online.
Also make sure you question any company you may hire through to find out exactly what qualifications the tour guide you are going to hire has and, if necessary, request a copy of their university degree. After all, you are paying for a fully-qualified tour guide in Thailand and you shouldn’t expect anything less.
Finally, if in doubt, contact the Chinese, Korean or Russian embassies in Bangkok and ask them to recommend a tour guide company to hire through. That way you are more likely to get a properly qualified Thai tour guide, rather than someone who left school before they were even a teenager.