Tour guides scramble to rearrange itineraries

Tour guides scramble to rearrange itineraries
On the job: Tour guide Ryan Lim,34, pointing out some sights to a Mongolian tourist at the Merlion Park. Tour groups' trip to view and take photos of the iconic Merlion were reduced from the usual half an hour to just 15 mins due to the high levels of air pollution.

SINGAPORE - The PSI hit a new high of 401 at noon yesterday.

But life goes on for those whose jobs require them to be outdoors, like freelance tour guides Ryan Lim, 34, and Desmond Wee, 45.

They had been braving the haze over the past week to conduct city tours.

Said Mr Wee: "We have been doing this for four days straight. No choice, the money has been paid."

Usually, tour groups will be given half an hour to take in the sights at the Merlion Park, a highlight for tourists.

But yesterday, a group of tourists, who arrived from Mongolia on a chartered flight, had only 15 minutes to take photos at the iconic Merlion statue.

Mr Lim felt bad for the tourists.

"It's a pity they were not able to fully appreciate the sights as they came to Singapore with a lot of expectations," he said.

The pair had a headache tweaking the itinerary as many attractions were temporarily closed, and there are limited indoor attractions for tourists other than museums and shopping malls.

Said Mr Lim: "We are scratching our heads for places to take them to. We spent an extra 45 minutes at a shopping mall, which we don't usually do as the itinerary is packed. But today we will just be driving around and ending the tour early."

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