English | Dzongkha Sunday, February 23, 2020

ABTO, GAB propose professional fee for tour guides

Sonam Choden, Thimphu
Aug 7, 2018

The Guide Association of Bhutan (GAB) proposed a daily professional fee of Nu 1,000 to Nu 1,500 for the tour guides to the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) some two years ago. The Association for Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO) did the same just recently.

If the proposal comes through, the tour guides in the country will be paid a daily professional fee in addition to the daily subsistence allowance (DSA) while on duty.

Currently, tour or travel agents pay guides a DSA of Nu 1,000 to Nu 1,500, which is barely enough, especially when the visitors they are with stay in 4 or 5 star hotels.

“I think this is going to benefit us a lot,” Thinley Namgay, tour guide, said.

“We are traveling almost every day during the peak season and sometimes we have to stay in 5 star hotels bearing all the expenses ourselves.”

Sometimes, they resort to sleeping in car, which attracts complaints from the tourists. This arrangement is also challenging for the female tour guides.

“If the proposal is accepted, the guides can, at least, have a decent room and simple meal, and they will not have to sleep in the bus or car,” Garab Dorji, the Chairperson of the Guide Association of Bhutan, said.

“Because of this issue, guides are not able to work professionally at the moment,” Garab Dorji added.

“If they provide us with such fees, I am sure we will be able to perform much better,” Karma Tshering, another tour guide, said.

Such initiative is also thought to help boost the image of the profession and retain senior tour guides. This ultimately will help in the flourishing of the country’s tourism sector.

Currently, there about 4,000 tour guides in the country.

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