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    Dec 19, 2013

    Tour guides want tips to be made mandatory

    TIPPING for tour guides may be made compulsory here if negotiations by a local union group come to pass.

    In at least two meetings with the authorities, including the Singapore Tourism Board and the Ministry of Trade and Industry last month, the NTUC Tour Guide Chapter asked that tourists here be made to pay a daily service fee, or tip, to each guide they hire.

    The chapter's spokesman told MyPaper that tipping would encourage guides to "provide levels of service that exceed the minimum standard" - and raise earnings.

    She said: "Guides work long and irregular hours, and generally don't have basic welfare, because they are mostly on a contract basis. Not all will get transport allowances too. Our tour guides are professionals and should be given due recognition for their work."

    MyPaper understands that guides' fees can be as low as $80 for eight hours of work.

    The chapter's spokesman added that tips could vary, depending on how good the guide is. But chapter members suggest $3 per tourist per day.

    Tipping is common in other countries. Tour agencies here are known to tell Singaporeans visiting places like Sri Lanka that each person has to pay a daily US$5 (S$6.30) tip to guides hired for trips.

    Chapter member M. Loganathan, 54, said: "We work overtime and on public holidays, but we get the same pay. Taxi drivers get paid surcharges, so we should get service fees too because we work irregular hours."