Thursday, October 4, 2012

Burma developing master tourism plan

Thursday, 04 October 2012 12:11 Mizzima News

A Burmese tourism industry master plan is being drafted with the technical assistance of the German-based Hanns Seidal Foundation, with support from the Norwegian government and the Asian Development Bank.

Downtown Rangoon by night along Sule Pagoda Road. Photo: wikipedia

Burma sees its tourism industry as a quick means to earn badly needed capital from international travelers eager to experience the country's cultural and natural heritage.

A main focus of the plan will be to expand tourism infrastructure and quality of services as quickly as possible. The Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has organized tourism development workshops in key tourist destinations to discuss with the stakeholders current and future challenges.

Vice President Sai Mauk Kham at a UN World Tourism Day function said recently that Burma needs everything from experienced tour guides to more hotel rooms.

According to official statistics, the total international arrivals during 2011 were over 800,000 including those coming in through border entry points from China and Thailand, while those entering through Rangoon and Mandalay international airports totaled 381,000, up 26 per cent up from 2010.

The figure for the last eight months of 2012 was 340,458 by air, up 40 per cent compared with the same period of 2011.

Burma rejoined the UN World Tourism Organization in June this year, which promised to support Burma in taking full advantage of its tourist potential.

Foreign companies are expressing interest in building modern hotels in Rangoon.

On August 22, Mizzima reported that Burma would build 19 hotels in Naypyitaw, the capital, in anticipation of the upcoming 27th Southeast Asian Games set for the end of 2013.

Vietnam and France are set to become major hotel investors in Rangoon. Indian companies are also looking at hotel investments, officials said.

AG & Land from Vietnam is expected to invest US$ 300 million in the hotel sector, Weekly Eleven reported. Oberoi Hotels & Resorts from India has also expressed interest.

Htay Aung, the deputy minister of hotels and tourism, said that Accor Group, the market leader in Europe, is also interested in making investments in the hotel industry. Accor, a French hotel group founded in 1967, operates in 92 countries.

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