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Chinese-Language Tour-Guide Course Begins in Myanmar

YANGON, September 4 -- A Chinese-language tour-guide refresher course began here Monday, aimed at producing qualified tour guides, who speak the language, as part of Myanmar's measures to promote its tourism industry and provide systematic guide to tourists coming from neighboring China.

The two-week special course is conducted by the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism of the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, according to the ministry Tuesday.

The introduction of the course came nine months after Myanmar reached a memorandum of understanding with China in December last year on the implementation plan for outbound travel to Myanmar by Chinese citizens at their own expenses.

China, along with Thailand, is a main supplier of tourists to Myanmar from its neighboring countries.

According to official statistics, the number of registered tour guides in Myanmar, who speak different foreign languages, reached 3,768 so far, of whom Chinese guides accounted for 222. The other language guides cover English, Japanese and French.

The statistics show that 234,900 foreign tourists visited Myanmar in 2000, falling by 9.9 percent from 1999 and the number of those who visited the country in the first four months of this year came to 51,291, also dropping by 44.2 percent compared with the same period of 2000.

Myanmar's short-term target is to draw 500,000 foreign tourists annually.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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