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Tourism Authority of Thailand sets minimum wage for tour guides

Travel News Asia 18 December 2002

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has issued a new regulation that will require tour companies to pay their tour guides a minimum wage.

The move is aimed at ensuring that underpaid guides are fairly treated by tour operators, especially those handling the Chinese and Korean markets.

Many guides handling these markets are often not paid at all. Known as zero-cost tour packages, this form of malpractice has often forced the guides to make their tourists spend excessive time visiting shops rather than genuine tourist spots.

The issue has been the subject of intense discussion amongst the national tourism authorities of all the various countries involved, especially in the wake of complaints from tourists.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan said, "We were very concerned about the bad image this was giving to Thailand as a result of tourists informing their friends and relatives about the negative experience.

"We recognised it as a very serious problem which had to be urgently addressed." Juthamas continued.

A series of consultative meetings were organised by the TAT's Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office and attended by senior officials of related public and private agencies including the Tourist Police, Labour Protection and Welfare Department, Employment department, Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), Professional Tour Guides association, and many more.

The conclusions and recommendations of these meetings were submitted to the Tourist Business and Guide Board of Directors for approval on June 14, 2002. The resolution was then endorsed by the Minister to the Prime Minister's Office and TAT Chairman and published in the Royal Gazette on October 25, 2002.

Details of the new minimum wage structure for guides are as follows. They are effective immediately except where otherwise mentioned:

General tour guides (holders of a silver and golden bronze tour guide license.) From January 1, 2003: 800 baht per day and 400 baht for half-day

Specific area tour guides (holders of a pink and light blue license): 600 baht per day and 300 baht for half-day.

Forest trekking tour guides (or holders of a green license): 500 baht per day.

Marine tour guides (or holders of an orange license): 700 baht per day and 350 baht for half-day.

Seashore tour guides (or holders of a yellow license): 700 baht per day and 350 baht for half-day.

Local culture tour guides (or holders of a brown license): 400 baht per day and 200 baht for half-day.

Religious destinations tour guides (or holders of a purple license): 400 baht per day and 200 baht for half-day.

Mrs Juthamas said, "We hope that this measure will go some way towards alleviating the problem. TAT will continue to monitor the situation closely."

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