Student guides well versed in foreign languages are being recruited here in an effort to help international tourists go around one of India’s prettiest and planned cities. The Chandigarh administration will appoint students who are studying different foreign languages such as French, German, Spanish and Russian.

“Every year we have thousands of tourists from counties like the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Canada who come to visit Chandigarh. The number of tourists visiting Chandigarh is increasing with each passing year. Often there are tourists who do not speak English and this has led to various sorts of problems for them,” Samwartak Singh, director of tourism, told IANS.

“Keeping this factor in mind we have decided to appoint students of foreign languages as tourist guides. Through this, students could easily earn money and also gain experience that will help them once they complete their course,” said Singh.

According to official figures, 32,074 foreign tourists visited this city in 2008, a jump of 21 percent from the 26,567 in 2007.

The number of foreign tourists was 25,217 in 2006 and 23,284 in 2005. Apart from being one of the country’s few planned cities, Chandigarh is also the gateway to many tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. It is well connected to Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab as well.

“Initially we will appoint only 20 tourist guides on our panel who can fluently speak at least one foreign language. Apart from this, we will prefer local youths and make sure that the guide is well informed about all the places in Chandigarh,” Vinod Kalia, deputy director of tourism, told IANS.

He added: “A guide will represent Chandigarh to the outer world and his job will be a big responsibility. So before the appointment we will also see that he is well-mannered, polite and possesses the aptitude required to become a guide.”

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