The Tourism Bureau is calling for students of tourism or native speakers from Southeast Asian countries to consider careers as tour guides.
The bureau yesterday launched an appeal to meet the demands of Taiwan’s booming tourism industry.
Tourist numbers from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand have seen significant growth in the past three years, rising from 527,068 in 2010 and 607,497 in 2011 to 668,285 last year, according to the bureau.
Despite the increase, the bureau said that the nation lacks qualified tour guides able to speak languages spoken in the Southeast Asian countries.
As of last month, there were 33 Thai-speaking licensed tour guides, one Vietnamese-speaking guide and seven others speaking Malay.
The bureau said it is working with the Ministry of Education and the National Immigration Agency to help recruit more qualified personnel.
High-school graduates or those with higher education degrees who are fluent in the languages spoken in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are encouraged to apply for free training.
Tour guide training organized by the Tourist Guide Association will equip participants with the professional skills to become a tour guide and will take place in Greater Kaohsiung next month and in Taipei in October.
Those who are accepted for the tour guide training need not pay tuition and would receive subsidy during the training period. Interested applicants can visit the Web site of the Tourist Guide Association at www1.tourguide.org.tw for more details.