Tourists may be misguided by the untrained

GEORGE TOWN: Taxi drivers and hotel staff moonlighting as tour guides could lead to tourists being misinformed about Penang.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa and Golden Sands Resort communications director Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman said there has been an issue differentiating legalised guides from unlicensed ones.

“There are taxi and e-hailing drivers who pick up passengers from the airport and then on the way chat with them about their stay.

“Usually they end up taking the tourists around suggesting places during their stay.

“They become unlicensed tour guides, which is bad because they are not trained and do not know much about our sites or heritage.

“This leads to misinformation about Penang,” he said.

Suleiman has also heard of foreign tour guides and even housewives who become part-time unlicensed tour guides.

“There have been Japanese tour guides who are not licensed but have taken people around.

“As it is not easy for a foreigner to obtain the licence as it requires training, they just go ahead and take groups of tourists around,” he said.

Suleiman said it takes time for someone to sit for the course to qualify as a trained guide.

“At our hotels we caution our staff not to take our guests out.

“This is something some hotels do, where they allow their staff to take guests around. We do not allow it as they are not insured by us when outside and are not qualified to take people on a tour.

“We have a tour desk at our hotels with someone stationed to arrange official tours and packages,” he said.

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