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The tour information occupation is without doubt one of the oldest professions, having been round for 2 and a half thousand years.

Immediately, tour guides are one of many important parts of the tourism trade’s success.

However the Covid-19 pandemic modified all that.

Two years of dealing with numerous challenges as a result of Covid-19 pandemic is just not straightforward, not to mention for tour guides straight concerned within the tourism trade.

Amongst them is senior citizen Wong Hing Tuck, for whom the pandemic has introduced some new challenges, and he was unprepared.

Like the remainder, he needed to look for jobs to survive, and Wong ended up being a Seize driver.

The previous chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Tour Guide Association stated the trade had been affected since mid-February 2020 after the unfold of the epidemic in China. 

Following that, bookings for tour information companies had been cancelled on the final minute.

Starting in early March 2020, licensed impartial tour guides below the affiliation not obtain any assignments following the implementation of MCO nationwide. 

Veteran tour information Wong Hing Tuck on Covid-19 inflicting tour guides to lose revenue. 

Wong added that earlier than Covid-19, a contract tour information might obtain something between 5 to seven assignments for a interval.

The estimated revenue will be something from RM4,000 to RM5,000 from these assignments. 

However Covid-19 put an finish to all that.

The restricted motion of individuals and the absence of vacationers as a result of Covid-19 pandemic pressured trade operators to downsize their operations.

Wong stated it’s not an exaggeration to say that the disruption of the pandemic has made everybody change their life routines. 

Tour guides, specifically, noticed their day by day routine of welcoming vacationers change completely.

After many cancellations, particularly by Chinese language tour teams, native tour guides are out of labor.

Authorities’s Extra Money Support Inadequate

Any effort initiated by the federal government is admired.

Nonetheless, one-off help of some hundred ringgit, with a number of months in between, is undoubtedly not sufficient to help even the essential want of any household.

Nevertheless, is that this help adequate to cowl the life which may be affected for a month, three months, six months, or a 12 months or could it proceed longer?

Additionally, tour guides had been burdened with points equivalent to:

  • Registered vacationer guides not within the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Tradition (MOTAC) database.
  • Information not up to date.
  • Lack of pc literacy.
  • Licenses which have simply expired and licenses which might be within the strategy of being renewed.
  • Licenses within the strategy of appeals or settlement of compounds.
  • Different classes meant that many couldn’t qualify for help.

How can such a factor occur when tour guides are registered with MOTAC, and the ministry ought to have already got an inventory of tour guides?

For the document, it’s not straightforward to turn into a registered vacationer information as a result of one should attend programs and move exams to move and get a license.

Worse nonetheless, some stated they by no means acquired the tour information’s one-off help regardless of being eligible.

The affected ones stated they’d contacted MOTAC many occasions, however there was no response.

When checked, their names are nonetheless not on the document.

Wong stated that below the Economic Stimulus Package introduced in March 2020 by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, a one-off cost of RM600 can be given to tour guides. 

In January 2021, then Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stated a one-off financial assistance of RM500 can be given to 14,000 tour guides within the nation.

Functions had been prolonged till 15 March 2021 to make sure that eligible tour guides weren’t ignored.

After which, in October 2021, below the 2022 Budget Initiative for Licensed Tour Guides, every of them can be given monetary help of RM1,500, divided into two funds.

They might obtain a money cost of RM750 per thirty days for 2 months (February and Could).

Nevertheless, tour guides whose licenses had expired earlier than or on 1 November 2021 and who didn’t submit a license renewal together with cost of the processing price earlier than that date weren’t thought-about.

The handouts are topic to phrases and situations, which will be unlucky for some tour guides. (Pix: Fuh.my)

This was adopted by one other RM500 one-off monetary help to licensed tour guides below the PEMERKASA+ 2021 Initiative in December 2021.

This monetary help is just given on a one-off foundation for every particular person and isn’t given based mostly on the variety of license classes owned.

The help was to assist the tour guides resume their actions per the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

On the similar time, Inap Desa (Homestay) operators acquired as a lot as RM1,800, whereas Spa and Foot Therapeutic massage Centre (PUK) acquired as a lot as RM3,000.

A cost of RM9,000 was additionally given to Tour Information Corporations, Journey Businesses and Vacationers (TOBTAB), and corporations concerned in Malaysia My Second House (MM2H) program.

Is Tour Information A Good Profession?

Wong, who has been a vacationer information for greater than 30 years, stated that a lot of the tour guides below the affiliation are impartial tour guides with revenue based mostly on the assignments they obtain. 

The remainder work below journey companies with salaries paid repeatedly by their employers each month. 

Wong hopes that each state authorities will discover an method to assist ease the monetary burden of affected tour guides.

Taking the instance of the method taken by Penang, Kedah, Johor and Sabah, Wong needs the respective state governments to supply particular help for tour guides. 

Steps that may assure the survival of tour guides should be mentioned collectively between policymakers and people concerned in associated sectors. The significance of tour guides to the trade can’t be denied. Subsequently, consideration and consideration to this group is critical and also needs to be given precedence.

Veteran tour information Wong Hing Tuck on tour guides being among the many main gamers in planning the event of the tourism trade through the years.

For instance, the Johor State Authorities introduced in Could 2020 a particular incentive below its Economic Stimulus Package 2020 for the tourism sector.

It was introduced by Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Chairman of the Tourism, Youth and Sports activities Committee.

Johor distributed RM1,000 to 936 registered tour guides residing within the state of Johor, totalling RM936,000.

Tourism Is The Breadwinner For Many

In Malaysia, the tourism trade contributed 3.5 million job alternatives in 2018, 23.5 per cent of the overall workforce. Of those, there was a drastic enhance in tour guides.

In 1972 it was reported that there have been solely 567 tour guides. Nevertheless, this quantity elevated yearly till reaching 15,363 in 2018.

In Taman Negara, some 170 nature tour guides lived in a troublesome scenario after they misplaced their supply of revenue as a result of lack of vacationers.

Chairman of the Pahang Nationwide Park Nature Tour Guides Affiliation, Mohamad Anas Zainudin, stated that the scenario has been occurring since December 2019.

The arrival of vacationers decreased and worsened when the Movement Control Order (MCO) began on 18 March.

The supply of revenue for all members comes from the arrival of vacationers. They rely completely on the assignments given by journey brokers and the resort and Mount Tahan climbing actions. They had been caught in a really dire scenario.

Chairman of the Pahang Nationwide Park Nature Tour Guides Affiliation, Mohamad Anas Zainudin, on issues and challenges that adversely have an effect on the tour guides.

A tour information taking guests on a river cruise at Taman Negara in Pahang. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Normally, the height season is from June to September due to the varsity holidays in Malaysia and the vacationer season in Europe. 

However it didn’t occur for an additional two years as a result of Covid-19 epidemic that has hit the entire world.

Many catch fish on daily basis to feed their household, he stated.

Accordingly, he appealed to the federal government to channel help to tour guides who assist the nation promote the tourism trade to vacationers coming from inside and out of doors the nation.

In the meantime, Raja Sharil Nasir, a full-time freelance tour information in Taman Negara, stated he had misplaced his revenue because the unfold of Covid-19, adopted by the MCO.

He relies upon completely on his revenue as a full-time freelance tour information. If there isn’t a job, then there isn’t a revenue. 

There have been no job presents for the longest time, and issues solely began to slowly enhance after the Covid-19 journey restriction has lifted.

Raja Shahril, who has greater than 10 years of expertise as a tour information, stated it might take some time for issues to return to regular even after the pandemic had ended.

On the similar time, he expressed due to the Pahang state authorities.

I’m grateful to the state authorities and the Menteri Besar of Pahang, Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, for contemplating the plight of tour guides and tour boat operators who’ve been affected by the unfold of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Taman Negara toour information Raja Sharil Nasir expressing gratitude to the state authorities.

In January 2021, the Pahang authorities, via Tourism Pahang, allotted RM270,000 to assist tour guides and tour boat operators.

This donation’s whole of 450 recipients contains 254 tour guides and 196 boat operators.

State Exco for Tourism, Culture, Environment, Plantation and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin, stated the help amounted to RM600,000 by the top of 2021.

Based on him, the donation recipients concerned the Nationwide Park Nature Vacationer Information Affiliation, the Pahang State Vacationer Information Affiliation, the Nationwide Park Boat Operators Affiliation, and the Tioman Island Vacationer Boat Affiliation.

Alternatives For Tour Guides Put up Pandemic

After two years of dropping their supply of revenue, the federal government’s announcement of reopening the country’s borders on 1 April 2022 introduced hope.

The federal government determined to open the borders as Malaysia entered the transition section to endemic.

It made the vacationer guides shed tears of gratitude, stated Jane Rai, a tour information based mostly in Kuala Lumpur.

We waited two years for the border to lastly open. There’s nonetheless hope for us to seek out sustenance.

KL tour information Jane Rai on beginning anew after the lockdown is over.

Jane stated the final time she received a visit was to deliver vacationers from Europe in March 2020, earlier than the nation introduced motion restrictions following the unfold of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Since then, she has misplaced her supply of revenue till not too long ago.

Jane stated, regardless of the nation’s two years below MCO, tour guides are nonetheless required to resume their licenses with MOTAC. 

If not, they are going to be fined.

Tour information Jayne Rai (left) giving a heritage discuss at Petaling Avenue. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Each time they renew their license, they need to present a tough estimate of RM700 for 2 years.

She stated it’s a burden as many tour guides haven’t any supply of revenue aside from a ‘one-off’ help from the ministry.

She added that tour guides wouldn’t need to renew their license after they can’t even work.

Jane then questioned the ministry’s supervisory license renewal system, which she described as inconvenient for tour guides affected by the pandemic.

In June 2022, the federal government agreed to extend the implementation period of license renewal fee exemptions.

The extension, which additionally applies to extra licenses, is for tour operators and tour guides who use for license renewal till 31 December 2022, involving 3,419 tourism operator firms amounting to RM5.676 million.

MOTAC stated the choice was based mostly on the federal government’s concern for tour operators and tour guides nonetheless affected by the affect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative is a part of the help help from the federal government to assist enterprise continuity and assist firms to get again up and proceed their enterprise post-pandemic.

With the extension, MOTAC hopes that certified tour operators and tour guides take this chance to benefit from the exemption.

Why Good Tour Guides Are Vital

The tour information has a number of main roles to play:

The instrumental position contains offering course, entry, safety and security,
organizing, managing and controlling the group, and having the suitable to decide on what can be proven and what is not going to be proven.

Secondly, tour guides play an interactional position, together with managing relationships between locals and vacationers.

They partake in numerous cultures that result in understanding the native tradition and
experiencing the day by day lifetime of the host group.

From a social standpoint, tour guides keep cohesion inside the group and supply leisure and humour whereas making certain the tour stays orderly.

From a communicative perspective, tour guides present data,
data and interpretation about totally different websites and details about the vacation spot.

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