Shanghai is now training tour guides who can speak "minority" foreign languages to serve visitors to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
The so-called minority tongues include not only European languages and Japanese, which are not uncommon in Shanghai, but also Thai and Vietnamese, organizers for the tour-guide examinations said.
The Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission said very few guides could speak minority languages in the past, and travel agencies often had to hire interpreters as temporary guides.
"It's hard to say how many minority language tour guides will be needed during the Expo," said Yao Shuoye, an official with the commission. "We still don't know how many visitors who speak these languages will come to the event."
Meanwhile, the city opened its first Expo tour this week. The package features views of the Expo grounds from a cruise ship.
Guides will explain the location of the buildings on the Expo site during the Huangpu River trip from the Bund to the Lupu Bridge.
(Shanghai Daily November 16, 2008)