President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is taking steps to expand job opportunities for Southeast Asian immigrants in the tourism industry, particularly for tour guides, in keeping with the government’s “new southbound policy.”
During a joint briefing yesterday, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and the Tourist Guide Association advised Southeast Asian immigrants on the procedure for obtaining tour guide licenses.
The briefing was held in line with the government’s new southbound policy, which is aimed at increasing the diversity of Taiwan’s trade partners so that the nation is not overreliant on the Chinese market, the agency said.
Saying that the number of Southeast Asian travelers and immigrants in Taiwan is rising, the NIA added that the government hopes to help spur an increase in job opportunities for Southeast Asian-language tour guides and boost tourism from that area.
Vietnamese Fan Shih Pei Liu said she was pleased to see the government offering greater assistance to immigrants like her. Fan, who obtained a tour guide license in 2014, said that back then, it was difficult to obtain information on the process for an immigrant to become a tour guide in Taiwan.
She said her plan is to build her professional knowledge and skills so that she can take Vietnamese visitors on tours around the nation.
Linda Tjindiawati, an Indonesian with a master’s degree from a British university, said that after she married a Taiwanese, she was not sure what work she would find in Taiwan.
A tour guide job has the added benefit of allowing the guide to learn more about different places in Taiwan, said Tjindiawati, whose daughter also attended the briefing to gain information about Indonesian-language employment opportunities in the nation.
The number of travelers from Southeast Asian to Taiwan has more than doubled over the past 10 years, rising from 638,939 in 2005 to more than 1.4 million last year, according to Tourism Bureau statistics.
Malaysians accounted for the largest number of visitors from the region last year, followed by Singaporeans and Indonesians.
As of the end of last month, there were about 144,000 foreign spouses from Southeast Asia living in Taiwan, with Vietnamese making up the largest number, according to NIA statistics.