At present, that the world is in the globalization era which causes more aggressive competition on businesses in several regions. This explain more about concepts of various countries in the free world or capitalistic world where there is the centre in the western countries those focus on development. As countries use developmental strategies to maintain economic, political, and military power and influence of the capitalistic world (Hongthongkham, 1976).
Tourism today has become an industry that is now crucial to the world economy, it is now a widely held view that in almost every country tourism has grown, and has become a core product in the international trade of those counties. Tourism now rates between 1-3 out of the top 10 key industries globally this industry is now vital to economic prosperity.
Thailand has a significant tourism industry which has the potential, with Government policies and assistance, to be developed much more this growth for Thailand provides an excellent source of foreign currencies. Since ancient times mankind has explored and travelled and now with modern technologies especially in transportation and communication, and an increasingly mobile world population there can be almost limitless growth. This growth has changed the way business is being done, from clusters of techniques to a more specialized planning organization. With market integration now called “tourism industry” is now a very important factor in the economies of many countries today (Nuntajak, 2010).
The tourism industry of Thailand has change dramatically and is now a major industry in world tourism. Over the past decade, international tourist arrivals in Thailand have grown faster over the past 10 years, from 8.58 million in 1999 to 14.09 million arrivals in 2009 by the Tourist Authority of Thailand or TAT (2010). Thailand has been gaining an increasing market share of international tourists. During that period, the tourism industry has been one of the great significant sectors for economic growth and each year there were each tourists spending money, at least 3,000.00 baht per person per day when tourists come to Thailand (TAT 2009).
For Thailand, the number of international tourists are increasing every year, a number of factors are responsible for tourism growth and development of the tourism industry in Thailand over other destinations, Owing to the friendly, welcoming, and peace loving nature of the Thai people. There are many reasons why Thailand appeals to wealthy tourists of foreign and different cultural destinations who have travelled to Thailand, to enjoy a unique and fulfilling experience. An important part of the Thailand’s tourism industry success is because of the physical geographic diversity of Thailand (TAT 2010).
Due to Phuket, a part of Thailand, is another world class destination. This place is serenely beautiful and is well known for the beaches and the blue seas and also one of the top ten diving destinations in the world. There are many activities available around Phuket such as, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, fishing, surfing beach, jet skis and the place for honeymooners. Generally Speaking, international tourists are focusing not only on the product, but also on the people who work for the hospitality and the tourism industry can give the right information to tourists.
Therefore, there are many international tourists increasing arrivals to Phuket. According to the statistical reports by Department of Tourism (2006), the number of international tourists arrivals in Phuket was 1.2 million in 2008 and 1.1 million in 2009 and is now a significant share in the Thai market.
The statistics showed the number of international tourists that generate revenue, prosperity to the local and more importantly to create a multi-professional occupations, such as interpreter, translator, waitresses, airline officers, including tourist guides who close with international tourists all through the time they are stay in Thailand (tourism.go.th, 2010).
Moreover, tourist guides are the personnel group having roles in encouraging and supporting tourism. They are the cultural diplomat because they tell tourists about various stories on society, tradition, cultural arts, economy, and politics (Ritthirak, 2002).
Therefore, tourist guides are a career which creates a lot of benefits to the country. But in fact, 22, 732 tourist guides apply for the tourist guide licenses from Tourist Guide and Tourism Business Registration Office on December 31, 2001. A tourist guide may have ability to use more than 1 language (Ritthirak, 2002).
Before applying for the tourist guide licenses, those tourist guides have to pass the quality creating process in order to have knowledge, ability, moral, and code of conduct. In practice, Tourism Authority of Thailand coordinates and provides Tourist Guide Training Standard Curriculum for implementation of educational institutes in the university level all over the country. The standard curriculum contains basic knowledge subjects which are necessary for working. After receiving the training, tourist guides can bring the evidence to apply for the tourist guide licenses from Tourist Guides and Tourism Business Registration Office of Tourism Authority of Thailand.
In the beginning the status of the “tourist guide” was not recognized. Supaporn Makjeang mentioned in Tourist Guide Principles (1996) that anyone could be a tourist guide if he or she could speak English and it was not necessary for them to receive high education. It was not until the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was founded in 1977 and the professional tourist guide training course was created that professional tourist guides were developed. The training courses have been operated until now and expanded to other major provinces. Moreover, the Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand was founded on July 29th 1975 as the center of all tourist guides (Tourist Guide Association Thailand, 1992).
Nowadays, the basic knowledge of the tourist guide is mentioned as the basic requirement except from the fluency of foreign languages. This policy makes the university graduates get more jobs. Travel agencies always employ the tourist guides who finish the training courses from the institute guaranteed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). This stimulates people who are interested in the tourist guide occupation to finish the training before the job application. Moreover, some government places, especially the Grand Palace and the royal temples, allow only the tourist guides who already passed the training course and have tourist guide licenses to operate the tour (Khummanon, 1996).
The expansion of tourism industry and the increasing of the number of tourist guides in Thailand, caused some immoral competitions among tourist guides. They try to do everything to get their own benefits regardless of the rules and their major duty. For example, do not do their job as best as they can, do not pay attention to their clients or take their clients to the shopping area where they received the commission, trying to persuade the tourists to believe that the goods and services are of high qualities with fair prices. In the case of jewelry, some tourist guides said the color mirror are the precious stone, some said gold but it’s only the metal guilt with gold or said the dog bones as tiger bones (Lookdamnoen, 1989).
Lookdamnoen also advises that the first place where the travelers arrive in Bangkok, Bangkok International airport, there are some people trying to submit tendered place where the tourists can meet upon arrival and claim that they are the officers of the airport and favor some services, such as accommodation, sightseeing, excursion and transfer services. They advise some information with documents for tours and excursions with unfair price. In additional, the bad manners of tourist guides such as shouting, crapping to call tourist groups, showing boredom when some tourists came late for the appointment because of the misunderstanding of language or any mistake, showing anger when tourists ask for some explained information, etc (Charoenmuan, 1992).
The Tourism Authority of Thailand in the conference of 1/1995 mentioned the tourist guides’ behaviors that ruin the reputation of their occupation as follows:
Forcing tourists to purchase some optional tour by deceiving or intimidating the tourists
to accept that tour beside the original deal with the tour company.
Taking tourist to the cheating or unfair price shops so that they receive tip or
commission from the shop.
Requesting some tips or special payments by convincing the tourists to be sympathetic
with the management that has no benefit.
4. Taking the tourists’ passports or air tickets until the tourists pay some additional costs.
At the conference of 1/1996 there are some other behaviors that caused the bad reputation and the loss of the honor of the code of ethics as mentioned in the second Ministerial Regulations (1996) of the Act of the Tourist Business and Guide 2008.
1 Explaining or informing some unreal or incorrect information that causes harm to the
nation, religion, and the monarchy.
2 Not performing his own duties as a tourist guide who should be concerned with the benefit
of tourists as the first priority.
3 Being dishonest, seeking some improper benefit or forcing tourists to do something they
are unwilling to do.
4 Disobeying the moral standard.
5 Not believing in the local tradition and regulation of each travelling place.
Therefore, the above problems that can say the causes of Thai tourist guides unsuitable behaviors are based on the loss of their moral of the rules and they forgot the importance of their own duties, though they are educated from acceptable institutes as professional tourist guides. Therefore, the assumption of these is the lack of the code of ethics that is the basis of all behaviors and caused people to do the right or suitable things, concerning the collective benefits, and feel responsible for society. All these can be taken as the principle or rules of the suitable performance that the researcher is interested in the ethics of Thai tourist guides and the ways to solve them that can be applied to be the basic idea and promote the professional tourist guides effectively.
Tour guiding is a highly regarded profession today and being a tourist guide comes with great responsibilities as lives of people while on holiday are entrusted in tourists care. Therefore, it is of vital importance that tourist guides strictly follow and adhere to the tourist guide standards and professional tourist guides code of ethics in order to promote ethics and high moral behavior in the perspectives of international tourists who are travelling in Phuket.
This study will look at related fields of business ethics, some ethical theories, moral, and tourist guides ethics in Thailand. Therefore literature review covers the following
The importance of tourist guide
Tourist guide situation in Thailand
Classification of tourist guide in Thailand
Qualifications of tourist guide
Manners of tourist guide
Role and responsibilities of tourist guide
The Characteristics of tourist guide
Code of ethics of tourist guide
1.2.10 Related research
1.2.1 The importance of tourist guide
A tourist guide is a significant component of the travel industry as he has the sole responsibility of taking care of the tourist including all travel arrangements of providing information and explanations (Pongsabuth, 1997). In addition, Supaporn Makjeang in the Principle of Tourist Guide (1996) mentioned that tourists are strangers to their destinations because they are not familiar with the local people, cultural and custom. When travelling alone without a tourist guide, they face problems and challenges and in most cases land up wasting their money and time. Therefore, with time, tourists have come to favor having a tourist guide for their trips.
The term ‘tourist guide’ is used in the travel business with on ease of the understand. However, academics have defined the concept of tourist guides more in terms of rules and responsibilities. A numeral of terms are use to explain those whose responsibility it is to take care of and to inform of tourists. ‘Courier’ was the term most generally applied to describe tourist guide , today a courier can be called ‘tour captain’, ‘tour escort’, ‘tour manager’, and ‘tourist guide’ (Jafari, 2000).
During the 19th century Thomas Cook became the first travel company that operated group tours by train to Loughborough and other places in Europe (Kruttawacho, 2008). This required tourist guides who could explain and guide tourist on these trips.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand in cooperation with Chulalongkorn University in 1961 (Mr. Sumonchart Sawaddikul, a professor at the Faculty of Arts), designed a training course training on professional tourist guides. The first tourist guides student for this course were the third year and upper Faculty of Arts students at Chulalongkorn University. Thereafter the course gained popularity and interested student began to in role. After Chulalongkorn University offered the course for 13 years, Silapakorn University implemented the same course for the first time in 1973 (Khummanon, 1996). In addition, the Humanities Faculty of Kasetsart University started the same course for its own students and opened a new tourism course for the graduated who were still unemployed.
Nowadays the course has become widely recognize and other University as the Rajaphat and the Rangsit, ect. have capitalized on its importance and have started offering it to the general public.
Due to tourism growth the government realized the need to pass a bill on standards and procedures for tourist guides. The bill stipulated that the Tourism Authority of Thailand be the support and controlling body for the tourist business and tourist guides, by making sure that they meet the standards required by law (that each tourist guide have a tourist guide license) as set out in the Tourist Business and Tourist Guide Act 2008 of Thailand (Tourism Authority of Thailand, 2010). The tourist guide licenses are issued after a person completes the training course arrange by the government service. Each course requires different levels of education. The qualifications stipulation is that one has to be a Thai citizen, aged 20 years or older, with good written and spoken Thai.
Tourist guide situation in Thailand
Increasing number of registered guides in Thailand demons that working as a tourist guide has become a popular career in the tourism industry. The language requirement in the number of tourist guides in Thailand, (see Figure 2.1). One reason of tourist guides increasing because students who studied in tourism industry course when their graduated TAT approves the tourist guide license. Therefore, the number of registered guides is quite high.
Figure 2.1 Number of tourist guide license requirement and approval during January 2010 to November 2010
Source: Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office, Centre (2010)
From the implementation year of the Tourist Business and Tourist Guide Act of 2008 until November 2010, there were 42,075 registration tourist guides in Thailand and 35,010 for General guide and 7,065 for Specific guide. Most tourist guide (30,781) was in English language (see Table 2.2)
Figure 2.2 Tourist guide classification by languagesJ:ToonioWork_TWitoon20 02 54figure 2.2.jpg
Source: Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office, Centre (2010)
Classification of tourist guide in Thailand
There are two main types of tourist guides: the general guide and the specific guide, as
General guide: a tour guide who has knowledge about general tours to places around
the kingdom, able to speak Thai and also convey information in other languages to tourists.
General guide (Foreign): silver bronze card color, a tour guide who can
conduct tours for Thai and foreign tourists all over the Kingdom in Thailand.
General guide (Thai): golden bronze card color, a tour guide who can conduct
tours specifically only for Thai tourists all over the kingdom in Thailand.
Specific guide: a tour guide who has specialized knowledge; e.g. history, archeology,
trekking, etc. to give the information to tourists with specific interests.
Specific guide (Foreign-specific area): pink card color, a tour guide who can
conduct tours for Thai and foreign tourists only for provinces listed on the card and those in the adjacent areas.
Specific guide (Thai-specific area): light blue card color, a tourist guide who
can conduct tours specifically for Thai tourists only using the provinces listed on the card and the provinces of adjacent areas.
Specific guide (Forest trekking): green card color, a tourist guide who can
conduct tours for Thai and foreign tourists specifically in the forest trekking areas.
Specific guide (Art & cultural): red card color, a tourist guide who conduct
tours for Thai and foreign tourists specifically on areas concerning history, archeology, art, cultural, or Thai literature all over the kingdom in Thailand.
Specific guide (Marine): orange card color, a tourist guide who can conduct
tours for Thai and foreign tourists specifically about history, archeology, art, cultural, or Thai literature to tours all over the kingdom of Thailand.
Specific guide (Seashore): yellow card color, a tourist guide who can conduct
tours for Thai and foreign tourists in the areas by the sea or on islands, with the distance from the coast to the tourist attractions of no more than 40 nautical miles.
Specific guide (Natural destinations): purple card color, a tourist guide who
can conduct tours for Thai and foreign tourists only on the natural attractions printed on the card.
2.8 Specific guide (Local cultural): brown card color, a tourist guide who can conduct tours for Thai and foreign tourists on the culture, history, geography, and archeology particularly within the local cultural attractions named on the card only.
Moreover, there are three kinds of tourist guides; an on-site guide, a city guide and a
specialized guide (Mancini, 1996).
1.2.4 Qualifications of tourist guide
Wannathanom (2003) mentions that being a tourist guide, one should have some specific qualifications since it is a career for those who have to interact with many people from different cultures and different behaviors. Eighteen attributes which are of importance to the tourist guides were identified, which are Klamsaengsai (2006) mentioned that:
Good personality: before taking care of others, the tourist guide has to initially
concentrate on his or herself, especially with regards to cleanliness and overall neatness.
Human relations: this is about the ability to impress tourists and to create friendships
with their automatically.
Be a knowledgeable person: the tourist guide should be erudite about the destination
and related topics, and possess a broad and deep knowledge for the benefits of the tourists.
Eloquence: in the career of a tourist guide cannot be avoided because verbal
communication is one tool for achieving success.
Perceptiveness: good tourist guides should be able to notice and memorize
surroundings quicker than tourists, since some notices can be useful for the tourist guide in answering popular questions from tourists.
Service mentality: this qualifying is most important for tourist guide who works in the
service industry. Tourist guides need to have the spirit of being a service provider to make others happy instead of doing the work just for money or temporary experiences.
Travel Experience: the more travel experience they have the more confident the tourist
guide will be.
Punctuality & High responsibility: one big responsibility of the tourist guide is to take
care of all tourists, all throughout their traveling, therefore tourist guides cannot abandon their duties of looking after the tourist. ‘Punctuality’ is one significant thing that the tourist guide who acts as a tour leader needs to respect.
Patience: the tourism industry can be called a people based industry where both
demand and supply are mainly related to individuals with different characteristics. If there is pressure from tourists or other problems, tourist guides have to refrain themselves.
Intelligence: this does not mean being a genius but tourist guides have to be conscious
of every situation and so that everything goes smoothly.
Sense of humor: not exactly like a comedian, but tourist guides should have some
talent in sharing jokes and general information.
Good mentality and good health: in tourist guides, it is a hard based type of work
taking care of a group of tourists. Tourist guides always have limited time to relax, therefore they should take care of themselves as well.
Good memory: besides recognizing tourist information, tourist guides must try to
remember. Then, they can call tourists by their correct name and making a tourist impression
Leadership: in conducting tours, tourists always believe that the tourist guide is the
head or the leader of the tour who can help them in every difficulty. Tourist guides should be able to control the group.
Honesty: this is the quality needed for every career including that of the tourist guide
who have to take care of tourists, follow the itinerary, or recommend good shops to tourists without cheating.
Foreign Language: in case of inbound or outbound tours, proficiency in foreign
languages, especially English is one important attribute for tourist guides to achieve in communicating with foreign tourists and to make the tour go smoothly.
Be enthusiastic: as being a leader of the group, tourist guides need to be active and
reactive anytime to make tourists feel confident.
Problem – solving ability: for both predicable and unpredictable problems, tourist
guides are the heroes in the eyes of tourists, so they have to use their experience and their talent to solve the problem.
Referring to H.Q. Zhang, I. Chow (2004) conducted to assess tourist guide performance that service quality of tourist guide should/should be or has as followings:
Ability to solve problems
Knowledge of the destination
Honesty and trustworthiness
Knowledge of information about safety regulations
Ability to deliver the service promised in itinerary
Being good at presentation skills
Well – trained
Ability to briefing visitors on daily itinerary
Ability to respect for customer
Ability in communicating in foreign languages
Ability to being friendliness
Ability to general friendly atmosphere
Ability to neat and tidy appearance
Ability to always being available for help
Ability to paying attention to detail
Ability to informing visitors about destination’s customs
Ability to introducing reliable shops
Ability to sense of humor
According to Hall mentions that in Handbook of Professional Tour Management (1993)
the tourist guides should have some qualifications that make an advantage trip as follows:
The ability to attract prospects: the tourist guide should be a positive sales factors, some travelers want a status symbol, and security. Tourist guide should be able to command and control the group by the follow factors.
Knowledge of the area: tourist guide should knowledge of historical place and have been there before when the tourist guide speak with more empower to advice facilities and attractions, to assess the period of travel days, and to remember and handle the possible problems.
First aid skills: tourist guide must be prudent about any medical burdens. And another skills as artificial respiration, CPR, water safety, and first echelon first aid are important. Having someone available in these areas to provide the convenient thing to tourist.
Forcefulness and decisiveness: tourist guide should have able to manage people and decision making. This is no job for an unsteady, timid personality.
A positive outlook: tourist guide should be an optimist and optimism must be made communicate, definite maturity is essential, enabling them to maintain a perspective to communicate this with confidence.
Honesty and loyalty: tourist guide should have moral must be practiced on behalf of the tourist guide, no cheating the tourist. This is both unfair and unwise, and ultimately reflects on the escort.
Assertiveness: tourist guide had better possess self-assurance, self-pride, and a certain amount of ego. When a receptionist insists there are fully single rooms as promised by the vouchers, tourist guide must be stable. “Get me a supervisor” this does not mean being loud and abusive, or acting tough; that it mean exhibiting inner strength and resolution. It means insisting on the rights of the tourists.
A claim demeanor: the best tourist guide do not panic, even internally. They are able to think clearly when riot threatens.
A warm personality: tourist guide must be a bit of the commanding officer in the tour, while establishing leadership credentials, must still communicate a sunny disposition, flash that ready amile, and reveal an enthusiastic. Tourists expect their escort be lively, gifted with attractive voices, and having that essential sense of humor.
A clean and neat appearance: tourists can afford to look casual or untidy, but tourist guide present a perpetually appearance. Tourists wonder how he or she can keep looking fresh.
Good health: tourist guide should be reasonable a good health, free from weaken complaints, and blesses with a reserve of power. Tourist guide must always be “up” and stay ahead of their passengers who wake up first and sometimes the last to bed. Even when the escort is not feeling in top form. Tourist guide should have ability to bounce back from the head cold or upset stomach, along with the power to persevere.
Flexibility: tourist guide should have ability to change directions when they might face with equipment breakdowns, failure in communication, disagreeable and troublesome passengers, illness, natural disasters, transportation delays, and so on.
Anticipation: tourist guide figures out in advance everything that might go wrong and tries to insure against this occur. That means frequent conversations with the bus driver or cruise personnel, advance phone calls, a survey of facilities before leading in the group
Negative qualities: the thing that the tourist guide should acknowledge tourist do not want the tourist guide who are dishonest, who are congenitally lazy, whose manner is abrasive, who are frightened and unstable, and who have no talent for managing others.
Therefore, there is not yet concluded rather than well-designed to give all conclusions of the
tourist guide’s qualifications. In what it mostly depends on government’s tourism policy’s development and adaptation of each country
Manners of tourist guide
Manners and ethics of tourist guides is their verbal behavior, interaction and the best practices of tourist guides in order to maintain prestige of the professional status, and professional tourist guides who make a profession of honor which has been respected as representatives of the country and the Thai people (Makchang, 1996).
Tourist guides are responsible the full time and not leave tourists on their own.
Integrity to tourists do to not lose the integrity tourists benefits such as, taking the
tourists to buy only at shops where tourist guides get more commission with no regard for the quality of the product.
Tourist guides should understand that they are in the position of service providers to
tourists and not show inappropriate reactions to tourists when tourists do not perform according to schedule.
Tourist guides should have an understanding of the desires and needs of their tourist.
They should also give equal attention to everyone, and maintain harmony.
Tourist guides should have compassion, A desire for others to be happy the purpose of
tourism is to help as tourists want to be happy and enjoy travel that tourist guides can willingly provide to tourists.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: