BANGKOK (eTN) – Despite the crucial importance of tourism to Thailand’s economy and the successful efforts made by the country to lure international visitors, foreigners touring the kingdom often wonder about the difficulties to be understood in English, even when these are basic words such as restaurant or hospital.
In Bangkok or major tourism centers, someone will always be around with some English knowledge to help. But in smaller cities, villages, or areas less-frequented by tourists, mime skills might then be required! “I recently told my staff that their level of English is today worst than ten years ago, when I came for the first time to work in Thailand,” said confidentially a hotel executive working for an international luxury chain.
It is no secret that a deficient education system and a certain shyness from Thai people to speak another language are responsible for poor English skills. Another friend of mine, a well-educated young woman working in marketing, told me once that she sometimes regretted that Thailand had not been a colony “as it would have helped us to learn and speak properly English,” she explained half joking.
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