Tourist guides who can speak foreign languages, especially minority languages, will be the most coveted targets in Fujian province, according to experts.
"We are have a shortage of bilingual professionals," said Zheng Jinlong, an official with the Haixia Tourism Talent Service Center, told Fuzhou Daily at job fair in Fuzhou on April 12 Sunday.
Some 6,350 job openings were offered by a number of large tourism groups, hotels and scenic resorts at the job fair, where many employers have announced incentives and bonuses for bilingual professionals.
Figures show that the number of bilingual tourist guides in Fujian was around 900 last year, taking up less than 5 percent of the total. And only around 200 of them can speak a second language other than English.
To encourage more professionals become tourist guides, Fujian's authorities have rolled out measures such as increasing bonuses for tourist certificate holders.
The elevation of bilingual talent is due to an increase in overseas tourism, driving up demand for guides capable of speaking French, German, Russian, Arabic and other languages, experts said.
"Usually we are good with two or three tourist guides who can speak other languages. But if there is a tour group from a non-English speaking country then we will certainly be understaffed and have to hire temporary guides from foreign trade companies and college teachers," said a manager at a local travel agency.
A total of 234 million tourists travelled to Fujian in 2014, 16.8 percent more than the previous year, who spent 271 billion yuan, an 18.4 percent increase, according to official figures.
The number of overseas tourists reached 5.4 million, a growth of 6.5 percent, spending 4.9 billion dollars, up by 7.4 percent.