Friday, August 18, 2017

Tour guide association sets day rate

The Myanmar Tourist Guide Association has set a standard fee for guides of US$35 a day, with effect from October 1.

Association communications officer U Tun Myat said all travel agencies would be required to follow the order but did not explain how it could be enforced.

“We have just set an industry standard based on what is happening at the moment in our country,” he said.

Asked why a rate needed to be set, U Tun Myat responded, “There’s no reason to ask that question. We did what should be done.”

He said travel agencies should follow the rate because it is reasonable and “it shows that [agencies] respect the association and have dignity and ethics”.

He said the association will try to resolve any disputes that arise over the rate. But any contracts already made for less than $35 a day must be renegotiated, he said.

Tour guide U Myo Thant said this rate could create problems for some travel companies as they have already agreed a price for the package with clients.

A spokesperson for the Union of Myanmar Travel Association said the fixed rate was higher than the current market price. English-speaking guides currently get $20 to $25 a day, he said, while guides fluent in other languages can get $30 to $35.

“We will not pay that much for a guide if they don’t have the right experience and skills,” the spokesperson said. “I think it’s better for guides and travel companies to work it out themselves, unless there is actually a problem.”

But Daw Sabei Aung, managing director of the Nature Dream agency, said she thought the rate was “fair”.

“It will not be harmful for agencies,” she said. “It’s actually pretty much the standard fee for tour guides already.”