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The impact of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud’s visit to Bali is beginning to show with a sharp increase of tourists coming from Saudi Arabia through Ngurah Rai Airport.

Anak Agung Yuniartha, Head of Bali Province Tourism Agency, revealed that the government along with other tourism stakeholders are planning to add more tour guides fluent in Arabic to anticipate the influx.

“Currently there are eight thousand tour guides but barely one percent can speak Arabic,” said Yuniarta, on Friday (07/04), as quoted by Merdeka. “Meanwhile there are 1,300 guides who can speak Mandarin. That’s why the government is serious about increasing the number.”

From the available tour guides (dominated by Balinese people), the reigning language is English. He hoped that in the future most of the tour guides are Balinese whom he reasoned can explain better the culture of Bali.

“If they’re not local then they must go through several training courses to receive a certificate.”

Made Nuarta, the Head of Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI, or Himpunan Pramuwisata Indonesia), admitted that a major recruitment for Arabic-speaking tour guides is happening soon. “But they have to find a tutor first to hone their Arabic speaking skills,” Nuarta said.

Moreover, the guides don’t have to be Muslims as the two most important things required are the language and knowledge of Balinese culture. “We’re not going to talk about numbers because first we need a tutor to teach them. But perhaps it’ll start at 50.”

Presently there are 11 guide divisions in Bali based on tourists’ spoken language, which are English, German, French, Mandarin, Dutch, Japanese, Italian, South Korean, Russia, and Chinese, with Arabic being the eleventh.

Photo: www.hipwee.com.

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