16:18 | 08/11/2018 Travel
(VEN) - With the aim of encouraging tour guides to improve their performance in order to better meet the needs of travellers, the Vietnam Tourism Association’s (VTA) Vietnam Tour Guides Association (VNTG) is launching a pilot program to rank guides on the basis of their knowledge and skills.
According to VTA data, Vietnam currently has more than 23,000 guides for inbound and outbound tourism, and the figure is almost 30,000 if voice-over guides and guides at specific tourist attractions are taken into account. However, only about five percent of these guides have signed a work contract with tour operators, while the remaining 95 percent work on a freelance basis.
VTA Chairman Vu The Binh said the service by freelance tour guides is often substandard, negatively affecting the tourism sector’s prestige. At some tourist attractions, guides are required to meet fewer and fewer conditions and requirements, he said.
The EU has helped the VTA’s Vietnam Tour Guides Association launch the guide-ranking program. VTA has also signed an agreement with the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training to improve tour guide knowledge and skills.
Bui Van Dung, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Tour Guides Association said tour guides would be rated on their performance, knowledge and tour operator’s assessment. Tour operators have welcomed the program.
By classifying guides into categories ranging from three to five stars, the Vietnam Tour Guides Association hopes it will be easier for travel firms to hire and pay adequate wages to tour guides. Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy General Director of Hanoi Red Tour Company said standards for tour guides are important given their integral role in the service and travel agencies like his company.
After the pilot program, the Vietnam Tour Guides Association (VNTG) will formulate criteria and ranking regulations to
enable all tour guides to join the rating from 2019.