Viet Nam News By Phương Anh Tour guides are known as cultural ambassadors for their country and community in the eyes of local and foreign visitors. Whether guides can deliver quality service to tourists is not only essential to the success of their company — and themselves — but also to the image of the tourism industry in Việt Nam. With the aim of encouraging tour guides to improve their performance in order to better meet the needs of travellers, the Việt Nam Tour Guides Association (VNTG) is launching a pilot programme to rank guides on the basis of their capacity, knowledge and skills. By classifying guides into categories ranging from three to five stars, the VNTG hopes it will be easier for travel firms to hire and pay adequate wages to tour guides. But the questions persist: Is it really necessary to rank tour guides? And how can something as subjective as tour guide performance be ranked, given that different tourists have different needs … [Read more...] about Will rating tour guides boost their quality
What tour guide do
Viet Nam News Earlier this year my friends and I visited the mountainous town of Sa Pa with a group of Thai friends. It was the first time our foreign friends had visited the town, so we hired a tour guide who could speak Thai to ensure they had the best experience. Everything was fine during our bus trip from Hà Nội to Sa Pa, but when we visited an ethnic village in Sa Pa, our tour guide did not actually ‘guide’ us as we expected. She remained silent the entire time from when we started walking down a road that leads to the village to when we were in the middle of the village itself. No introduction of the place, no instructions to our Thai friends, which left us with an impression that this was her first time being there as well. The outing was not all ruined, but it was disappointing enough to make one of my friends call the tour operator and complain about the guide. As for me, although having gotten used to independent travelling, I felt that our Thai … [Read more...] about There’s more to tour guides than language
If you see little girls wandering through the Sa Pa market with brocade bags and jungle knives, they are probably tour guides. Dozens of ethnic Mong girls show tourists around the resort town and the surrounding villages. While the children have not been professionally trained, growing up in the northern province of Lao Cai made them more familiar with the area than any professional. When they were very young, they became acquainted with the winding roads leading to their villages. Even learning English is not very complicated for them, as their youth enables them to quickly imitate speaking patterns and the Mong language, like English, is a "spirant language" - a feature that a linguist told us helps local children learn to speak English very fast with accurate pronunciation. Originally, there were not many job requirements. With good health, a vivacious personality and a few words of English, the girls could easily go down to the market and find foreign visitors to guide around … [Read more...] about Sa Pa tour guides face both sweat and joy
Vietweek's Guiding Principle article, about the problems caused by foreign tour guides in Vietnam, was an ill-informed and occasionally xenophobic piece which barely reflected the reality for tourists and tour companies in the country. Earlier this year I took a visiting British travel journalist on a motorbike tour of Saigon. Our guide for the day was an Australian war veteran who has lived in Vietnam for over 30 years, speaks fluent Vietnamese, and knows the country better than anyone I have ever met. He spent the day taking us well off the usual tourist trail, to places that even I, having lived in Saigon for nearly 10 years, had never visited before, and kept us informed, entertained and amused throughout. He was basically the best tour guide I have met anywhere in Asia - and as an expat tour guide in Vietnam, he is the shape of things to come. The assumption that only locals can guide foreign visitors to their country is arrogant, naïve and extremely old-fashioned. In my … [Read more...] about Expat guides are the real McCoy
Cruise tourism is expected to play a very important role in the long term tourism development strategy in 2020-2030. However, Government agencies and travel firms have been urged to take actions right now to prepare for the strategy. Cruise tourism's great potentials still untapped According to Nguyen Thanh Binh, representative of the Tan Hong Travel Firm, cruise tourists are mostly rich elderly people who always demand high quality services. However, Vietnamese in-land services are not as good as on-board services, therefore, it is very difficult to attract tourists. In general, as for within-the-day tours, tourists regularly choose the tours to Hanoi (The Ho Chi Minh Museum, ancient streets) or to Ha Long Bay (visiting the bay or kayaking). As for the tours to the central region, the most favored tours are the ones to Da Nang, Hue and Hoi An. The travelers who want to visit the south would choose Ba Ria-Vung Tau or HCM City. However, most of travelers want to return to ships … [Read more...] about What way for Vietnam’s cruise tourism?