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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.

Right this moment, 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 varied challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic is just not straightforward, not to mention for tour guides instantly 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 mentioned the trade had been affected since mid-February 2020 after the unfold of the epidemic in China. 

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

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

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

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

The estimated earnings might 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 because of the Covid-19 pandemic pressured trade operators to downsize their operations.

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

Tour guides, particularly, noticed their every day routine of welcoming vacationers change totally.

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

Authorities’s Extra Money Help 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 assist even the essential want of any household.

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

Additionally, tour guides have 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 are 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 file, it’s not straightforward to change into a registered vacationer information as a result of one should attend programs and cross exams to cross and get a license.

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

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

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

Wong mentioned that underneath the Economic Stimulus Package introduced in March 2020 by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, a one-off fee of RM600 could be given to tour guides. 

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

Purposes have been prolonged till 15 March 2021 to make sure that eligible tour guides weren’t unnoticed.

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

They might obtain a money fee of RM750 per 30 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 fee of the processing price earlier than that date weren’t thought-about.

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

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

This monetary help is simply 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 obtained as a lot as RM1,800, whereas Spa and Foot Therapeutic massage Centre (PUK) obtained as a lot as RM3,000.

A fee of RM9,000 was additionally given to Tour Information Firms, Journey Companies and Vacationers (TOBTAB), and firms 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, mentioned that many of the tour guides underneath the affiliation are unbiased tour guides with earnings based mostly on the assignments they obtain. 

The remainder work underneath journey businesses with salaries paid often by their employers each month. 

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

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

Steps that may assure the survival of tour guides must 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 over time.

For instance, the Johor State Authorities introduced in Could 2020 a particular incentive underneath 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 full workforce. Of those, there was a drastic improve 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 tough scenario after they misplaced their supply of earnings because of the lack of vacationers.

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

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

The supply of earnings 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 have 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. 

But it surely didn’t occur for an additional two years because of the Covid-19 epidemic that has hit the entire world.

Many catch fish daily to feed their household, he mentioned.

Accordingly, he appealed to the federal government to channel assist 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, mentioned he had misplaced his earnings because the unfold of Covid-19, adopted by the MCO.

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

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, mentioned it will take some time for issues to return to regular even after the pandemic had ended.

On the similar time, he expressed because of 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, by means of Tourism Pahang, allotted RM270,000 to assist tour guides and tour boat operators.

This donation’s complete of 450 recipients consists of 254 tour guides and 196 boat operators.

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

In response to 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 earnings, 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, mentioned Jane Rai, a tour information based mostly in Kuala Lumpur.

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

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

Jane mentioned the final time she obtained a visit was to convey 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 earnings till lately.

Jane mentioned, regardless of the nation’s two years underneath 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 speak 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 mentioned it’s a burden as many tour guides haven’t any supply of earnings apart from a ‘one-off’ help from the ministry.

She added that tour guides wouldn’t wish 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 further licenses, is for tour operators and tour guides who use for license renewal till 31 December 2022, involving 3,419 tourism operator corporations amounting to RM5.676 million.

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

The initiative is a part of the assist help from the federal government to assist enterprise continuity and assist corporations 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 consists of offering path, entry, safety and security,
organizing, managing and controlling the group, and having the precise to decide on what shall be proven and what won’t be proven.

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

They partake in several cultures that result in understanding the native tradition and
experiencing the every day lifetime of the host neighborhood.

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

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

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