North Sulawesi is experiencing a shortage of Mandarin-speaking guides as the number of tourists from China to the province continues to increase.
“The high number of foreign tourists, especially from China, visiting North Sulawesi has not been matched by the number of guides who can speak Mandarin,” Frankie Najoan, the Indonesian Restaurant Hotel Association’s (PHRI) North Sulawesi secretary, said in Manado on Thursday as quoted by Antara.
Frankie added that one of the challenges laid in the fact that there were not many people in the area who can speak the language. “I think there are already a lot of tour guides who can speak English, but there aren’t many who can speak Mandarin.”
Until now, he said, tour guides accompanying Chinese tourists mostly came from outside of North Sulawesi.
“The guides actually come from Batam, there are some from Bali as well as China,” Frankie added.
He said tour guides from outside the area could not master the ins and outs of the locations in North Sulawesi as a local could, adding that some important information about the various places might not be conveyed to the visiting tourists.
“Tour guides from outside do not know much about our tourism potential,” Frankie said the government should also pay attention because direct flights from South Korea to Manado would be opened soon.
South Korean tourists would want to dine out on Korean cuisine when they reach their destination, he added.
“From the information we received, South Koreans will soon be streaming to North Sulawesi but we don’t even have a restaurant that serves kimchi,” Frankie said.