Local tour guides protest against illegal tour guides & groups

2019-05-10 08:00     Comment:1

Dozens of local tour guides took part in a protest organised by grassroots People Power Macau group yesterday, urging the government to clamp down on illegal tour guides and illegal tour groups.

The organiser, People Power Macau Chairman Si Tou Fai, told reporters covering the protest that about 200 local tour guides took part in the protest, while the Public Security Police (PSP) said that the one-hour demonstration drew about 140 demonstrators at its peak during the march.

The protesters started the demonstration in Praça do Tap Seac at 3 p.m. and then marched to Government Headquarters in Nam Van where five representatives of the protesters submitted their petition to an official.

Si told the reporters that the illegal tour groups are competing for public transport resources with local residents while illegal tour guides reduce local tour guides’ job opportunities, adding that his peers reported the proliferation of illegal tour guides and tour groups to the government last year.

However, according to Si, Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) officials often say that it’s hard for them to take action against the suspected illegal tour groups because of a lack of evidence while the police often say that illegal worker issues exceed their scope of responsibilities. Si acknowledged that so far no illegal tour guides or illegal tour groups have been prosecuted by the authorities.

Si also said that the local tour guides urged the government yesterday to clamp down on illegal tour groups and guides by increasing their inspections and deepening their investigations.

Si said that most illegal tour guides and their illegal tour groups were from the mainland, adding that cross-departmental or even cross-border cooperation with neighbouring regions was needed to tackle the phenomenon.

2,000 active local tour guides
Local tour guide Lam Ion Meng told The Macau Post Daily before the protest march that about 3,000 people have obtained the Tour Guide Card issued by MGTO, upon completion of a training course. Over 1,000 to 2,000 of them are active in the local tourism industry, according to Lam, who said that over 10 to 20 percent of the local tour guides participated in yesterday’s protest.
Lam pointed out that many mainland travellers join illegal tour 
groups through mainland travel agencies before their arrival here, adding that their illegal tour guides “teach” them how to respond in case someone asks them about their visit.

The illegal tour groups often pretend that they are merely an informal group of individual travellers with close relations from the same village or town on the mainland who just happen to be travelling to Macau together, Lam said.

Lam said that since the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge came into service in October, the number of illegal tour groups has increased significantly.

Local tour guides march in Rua do Campo en route to Government Headquarters yesterday, carrying a banner urging the local government to “strictly punish illegal tour guides”. Photo: Iong Tat Choi

People Power Macau Chairman Si Tou Fa (centre), flanked by local tour guide José Dias (right), hands in the protesters’ petition to an official at Government Headquarters in Nam Van yesterday. Photo: Rachel Lei


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