Singaporean tourists expect service staff to speak English

A group of tourists walking outside of the wall of the old town of Dali, the ancient kingdom of Nanzhao in China. Source: Shutterstock/woraatep suppavas

A NEW survey reveals most Singaporean travelers are fussy about retail and hotel staff speaking in English when overseas, Straits Times reported.

Findings by Amadeus, a company that provides technology and software options for the travel industry, showed 84 percent of Singaporean respondents expect staff to speak in a language they understand, compared to 47 percent of travelers from other countries in the region.

“We have been too accustomed to communicating in English. So when thrown into a new circumstance, we tend to fumble,” Dr Michael Chiam, a senior tourism lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, told Straits Times.

“Comparatively, the Asia Pacific traveler is more likely to be exposed to a variety of languages and dialects. They tend to be able to speak a variety of languages, though it may be limited.”

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When it comes to sightseeing, Singaporeans also expect tour guides to speak in a language they comprehend. Meanwhile, Singapore tourists were found to be least interested in receiving recommendations and updates after their trips.

Filipino tourists too regarded language as an important factor when overseas, followed by Kiwi, Indian, and Chinese tourists.

On the other hand, travelers from Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and South Korea don’t prioritize language of service staff when overseas.

The study – titled “Journey Of Me Insights: What Asia Pacific Travelers Really Want” – featured a sample size of 6,870 travelers across the Asia Pacific region, 300 of whom were Singaporeans.