Bangkok: Tourism associations fear the boom in tourism to Thailand will caused a shortage of tour buses and drivers, hotel personnel service standards will decline and there will be a glaring shortfall in tour guide to serve Chinese and Indonesian tourists.

Association of Thai Travel Agents president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, said there was already a shortage of tour bus and professionally trained bus drivers to serve the increase in travellers to Thailand.

“Last week, the association proposed to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports that it work with the Department of Land Transport to organise training programmes for drivers.”

“It will help to tighten bus driver competence and improve the country’s tourism image,” he said. “If tour bus drivers are of a low standard, we will lose competitive opportunity to neighbouring countries once AEC 2015 starts.”

Thai Hotels Association president, Surapong Techaruvichit, added that there was a shortage of hotel staff now as more hotels open throughout the country.

“There is a lack of personnel at all levels and this is impacting on the industry’s performance.”

He suggested there should be intensive training courses for lower position such as housekeepers, waiter and waitress.

“The association is now in talks with the Executive Housekeeper Association of Thailand to organise a week-long training course that would qualify attendants to work in housekeeping at the close of the programme.”

Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand’s honourary president, Wiroj Sitprasertnant, agreed with the ATTA and THA presidents claiming training programmes were urgently needed at all levels.

“We are running short of tour guides especially for Chinese and Indonesian markets,” he said.