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Tour guides in Thailand reserve their services only for Thai citizens.

A group of Chinese-speaking tour guides convened on Saturday, March 18th, to discuss the trouble caused by illegal guides who are stealing their jobs. The group complained they are being overlooked by the government as their complaints, so far, have not been heard.

The complainers revealed at a meeting that some foreign guides are working illegally in Thailand and are stealing their jobs. These guides do not have a guide license which is required by Thai laws to operate as a guide. A guide is a protected occupation in Thailand that foreigners cannot work in.

They said they met on Saturday to petition the government to take action against the illegal guides, citing although their multiple complaints in the past about this issue have not been heard, they still want justice to be served.

Mr. Paisarn Suethanuwong, chairman of the Professional Guide Association of Thailand stated that after the government announced the re-opening of the country to foreign tourists on October 1, 2022, the number of tourists entering Thailand has increased significantly.

However, the number of jobs available for Thai tour guides has not kept pace with this growth. A large portion of the jobs have gone to foreign entrepreneurs who have entered the country and acted as guides without proper licensing, he said.

Paisarn also stated that some Chinese investors have entered the country to steal jobs from Thai guides and ravaged numerous local tour companies. They flooded the country after China announced a re-opening for international tourism.

During the pandemic, guides were the most affected profession, and the lack of assistance from the government forced many to leave this career to seek alternative means of income, said Paisarn. He wanted relevant government agencies, such as the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Labor, to implement strict measures against unlicensed guides and provide more support for legal guides.

Regarding their next move, the group said they would file another petition directly with the prime minister to look into this trouble. The group hoped those with authority would come together and help rid Thailand of exploitative foreigners.

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