Published on : Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Mr. Lei Lei, a tour guide from Hubei province, who has been working and living in Paris for 13 years knows this well.
In 2006, Mr. Lei went to France for a postgraduate course in international trade. But after graduation, due to global financial crisis it was extremely tough for him to find work. A friend encouraged him to become a registered tour guide on Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency.
“Starting from picking up and taking tourists to airports, I began to gradually master the multiple skills of being a tour guide. To provide better services, I got a French driver’s license and a local tour guide certificate,” Mr. Lei said.
Each month, he can earn about €3,000 (S$4,600), which is more than he can from other part-time jobs.
Now, more Chinese tourists are heading to Europe. The number of Chinese tourists to Europe doubled in the second quarter of last year, compared to the previous year, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Also, more Chinese tourists are switching from holidaying in groups to travelling independently. “More and more tourists are not satisfied with glancing over sightseeing spots quickly with a tour group. They want to know more interesting stories and cultures. So more Chinese tourists favor booking a local tour guide and hearing more about local customs and events,” said Mr. Lei.
As part of his job, Mr. Lei helps tourists book the most exotic hotels, taking them to eateries to enjoy the best food. His professionalism has since brought him more customers, and this made him establish his own tourism company.
According to Ctrip, there are more than 5,000 people registered as domestic tour guides in China.
The average service fees of a tour guide is around 300 Yuan (S$60) to 400 Yuan per day, and their average monthly salary is around 8,000 Yuan – often higher than average local salaries.