Relaxed qualification requirements for tour guide licenses led to a record 50,000-plus applicants sitting this year's tour guide exam, held nationwide at 13 venues on Saturday and yesterday.
The exam is categorized as a civil service exam.
Unlike previous years, where applicants needed a college diploma or to have graduated from high-school with at least one year of experience in the travel industry, this year the candidates could apply for the test so long as they had a high school diploma.
At the National Examination Center, people aged 20 to 60 sat for the Tour Guide Exam.
The questions ranged from how tour guides should react when a Taiwanese tour group is attacked by armed robbers in Brazil, how early should a tour group arrive at the airport, how to arrange forks and knives, to how long a Chinese tour group is allowed to stay in Taiwan.
Many applicants were university students hoping to get a tour guide license to help them land a job upon graduation.
"Competition is tough. Only 10 to 30 percent can pass the exam," said Lin Yu-chieh, 23, a university student.
"I spent three months preparing for this exam. If I can get the tour guide license, it will be my iron rice bowl," she said, referring to a Chinese euphemism for a guaranteed job.
Unlike previous years, where people applied for English or Japanese-language tour licenses, which would allow them to accompany groups abroad, this year's exam saw a surge in the number of applicants in the Mandarin-speaking category.
People in the travel industry attributed this growth to the government's plan to soon allow 1,000 Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan every day. Taipei is also in discussions with Beijing on opening charter flights so that Chinese tourists could fly directly to Taiwan.
Tour Guide Association director Lin Ten-chan (
Additional reporting by DPA
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
National Taiwan University Hospital’s (NTUH) Ethical Review Committee on Tuesday approved the hospital’s application to conduct human trials of mixed Moderna and Medigen COVID-19 vaccines. The hospital yesterday said that 220 volunteers aged 20 to 70 who have received one dose of a Moderna vaccine eight to 12 weeks ago are to be enrolled in the program. The volunteers are to be separated into two groups — a treatment group and a control group — and a double-blind study would be conducted, assigning Medigen or Moderna vaccines to the groups on a random basis, it said. The trial is expected to start
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two
TAIWAN TIES: The foreign ministry said like-minded nations continue to express support for Taiwan’s ties with Lithuania, highlighting a letter by Slovenia’s PM US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday saluted Lithuania’s championing of democracy in Taiwan and Belarus. Lithuania in July agreed to let Taiwan open a representative office using its own name, prompting a pressure campaign by China. “We stand against economic coercion, including that being exerted by China,” Blinken said as he welcomed Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis in Washington. “We stand strongly for democracy, including in Belarus, where we’re very much working together,” Blinken said. Landsbergis told reporters afterward that he and Blinken discussed “economic, financial, political measures” that can be taken to withstand Chinese pressure. “We discussed various possible measures