To cater to the influx of more Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia, MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun expressed the need for more Chinese-speaking tour guides in the region.
With tourism being one of the booming sectors to support economic progress, last year the nation saw 1.5 million Chinese tourists annually. The government hopes this number to increase to 8-million by 2020.
“We are facing a shortage of Chinese-speaking tour guides. There is a need for more as the Chinese market is big. If we do not act quickly, we may lose out to our neighbours such as Indonesia,” Datin Paduka Chew said at the 10th anniversary of the Malaysian Women Tour Guide Association (MWTGA).
She further added that around half of Malaysia’s 12,874 registered tour guides speak Chinese. “According to statistics in 2016, there were 12,874 tour guides registered with the ministry, of whom 5,607 speak Mandarin, 846 Cantonese and 90 Hokkien. I think we have to work hard to increase the number,” Chew was quoted by The Star Malaysia.
Chew, who is also Women, Family, and Community Development Deputy Minister, urged more women to join the profession, while adding that the Government aims to achieve the female labour participation rate of 59 percent by 2020.
With MWTGA being formed with the original objective of fighting bias against women, she urged entrepreneurs to create a women-friendly workplace.
Highlighting the fact that many women tour guides have been put in “cold storage” and deprived of assignments after having voiced out their rights against the practice of gender-based discrimination, Chew said many women have succumbed to the pressures imposed in time.
However, their effort to fight against the bias was successful when the discriminatory practice was banned in 2009. Chew, then MCA Wanita chief, and the association president Erina Loo were key contributors to this cause.
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