Saturday, August 20

Foreign tour guides a temporary measure – deputy minister

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KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit yesterday encouraged local tour guides to gain proficiency in foreign languages especially Korean and Japanese.

“There are not so many of our local tour guides for Koreans and Japanese tourists and our policy is if we don’t have enough tour guides able to speak their languages, we allow for foreign tour guides as a temporary measure to help us out but in the mean while our people must learn and take up the endeavor to learn foreign languages,” James told a press conference at Le Meridian hotel yesterday.

He explained that what the tourism industry requires are repeat visitors to Malaysia and the sevices of tour guides who can converse in one of the two languages, or both, becomes imperative.

“We want more tourists to come and without tour guides who are proficient in either the Korean or Japanese languages, the tourists will stop coming and we will lose out,” James stressed.

He echoed the recent decision of the ministry to allow Korean tour guides to come in specifically to cater for the growing number of visitors from the country.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen said on Monday that the decision was made following a request from the Korean government to have more Korean speaking guides in Sabah, adding that Sabah has only eight registered tour guides who are conversant in the Korean language but the number would nnot be able to cater for the rapidly growing number of Korean visitors.

When officiating at the Borneo Street Dance competition held at the Suria Sabah shopping mall yesterday, James expressed appreciation of the creativity exhibited by the youth.

“Our youths are energetic and creative and it is important that they be provided with a platform to showcase their creativity and to carry out their healthy activities such as this competition,” he said.

“We plan for them activities that can bring about their best creativity to be recognised and to able to compete at a higher plenary level.

The competition was participated by nine local groups with  four groups taking part in the international category.

Deekizz Boyz emerged victorious in the local category while Borneo Crew and Got Soul – Soul Dance were placed second and third respectively.

In the international category, The Vibe of The Philippines was crowned the winner with the second place going to another Filipino group named Vibelicious. Last year’s winner, AC Crew from Malaysia was placed third.