Tue, Oct 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Bureau to subsidize tour guides

LIMITED BUDGET:Tour guides who speak Southeast Asian languages would receive NT$2,000 per tourist, but they cannot be paid more than twice, the Tourism Bureau said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Travel agencies that hire tour guides who can speak Southeast Asian languages will receive government subsidies, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

The policy is part of the government’s “new southbound policy” that seeks closer relations with Southeast Asian nations in tourism, education and economy.

While the government in July waived visa requirements for tourists from Thailand and Brunei, Taiwan still lacks tour guides who speak Southeast Asian languages, including Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malay.

Based on the rules stipulated by the bureau, travel agencies would be eligible to receive subsidies for recruiting tour guides speaking any of the Southeast Asian languages, or hiring translators for tour groups.

Tour guides who can speak any of the languages would receive NT$2,000 (US$63.12) per tourist per day, the bureau said.

Should a group have two such tour guides, only one of them would receive the subsidy, it added.

The total subsidy for each tour group was capped at NT$10,000 and tour guides would not be able to receive subsidies more than twice, the bureau said.

The bureau has allocated NT$3 million for the program, with the application deadline set for April next year.

The bureau can end the program earlier if the budget runs out before the deadline, it said.

To qualify for the subsidies, the tour guides must either be certified to guide tour groups speaking Thai or other Southeast Asian languages and have been working as a tour guide for less than three years, or they must be certified in other languages, and have received training in any of the Southeast Asian languages within the past two years.

Travel agencies can also apply for the subsidies if tour guides who have held a license for speaking any of the Southeast Asian languages for less than three years are recruited to accompany a tour group as part of their training.

Subsidies can also be given to translators that the travel agencies hire to assist the tour guides.

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