The trade union of Lithuanian tour guides, Solidarity, is holding a protest action outside the Royal Palace in the heart of Vilnius on Thursday.
"Citizens of Lithuania who want to work as tour guides in Lithuania are required to have a university degree, complete a special course and pass an examination of the Lithuanian history and conducting tours, however, none of this is mandatory for other EU citizens," said Ričardas Garuolis, the leader of the trade union.
In his words, after the EU directive on free movement of labor and services took effect in Lithuania a few years ago, foreign citizens just have to apply to the Lithuanian Tourism Department and provide proof of working as a tour guide for two years in his or her country to receive a "temporary" tour guide work permit in Lithuania.
Over 4,000 persons have completed the special course for tour guides in Lithuania, however, only about 600 of them work.
"Their jobs are filled by tour guides from abroad, mainly from Poland, Latvia, Germany, and other countries. This has particularly affected the guides of Polish-language tours who are replaced by those coming from Poland," Garuolis said.