“Warmly welcome and take care of tourist”
This week, we will focus on practical issues that will occur within the tourism boom, with this main question: how to manage the influx of travelers for the next coming tourist season?
On the one hand, addressing the issue of the lack of infrastructure is still the main challenge of Burma’s government and its industries. Indeed, as Nicholas Fang, director at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, explains in the last “Burma Business Round-up” of The Irrawaddy it is necessary that the government reviews the current laws on land and property titles and that it creates a more favourable and transparent investment background for foreign property developers in order to fully open the market to foreign businesses that want to be involved in Burma’s huge growth potential.
Another enhancement must come from a better education system – particularly for the universities – to counter the lack of skilled individuals who will be able to handle the tasks initiated by the tourism boom in all spheres of the Burmese economy.
On the other hand, some stimulating innovations are already ongoing: Evergreen Marine Corporation of Taiwan, one of the world’s biggest shipping companies, is to start a freight service between Rangoon and Singapore “in response to increasing market demand”.
The air space is not left behind. To improve the quality of flights, Burma’s state-run domestic airline, Myanmar Airways “has agreed to jointly operate ground handling airline services with [a foreign company], the Dnata Company”
New flights will be also launched: “into Rangoon by South Korea’s KAL, China’s Hong Kong-based Airline, Chinese Taipei’s EVA, Japan All Nippon Airways, Qatar Airways” and with Manila for the end of the year. German and Bangladesh airlines are also discussing direct flights. Besides, direct flights from Mandalay to and from Bangkok will begin from October.
Furthermore, in order to disencumber the Yangon International airport, a new modern airport in Bago, 50 miles from Rangoon, needs to be built. Construction would start in June 2013 in cooperation with local and foreign investors.
How, in other ways, Burma is getting ready to modernize its economy? Some betterment is under way with the introduction of ATM machines in the country. This step seems to be a necessary one; however, it is just the first one since “so far they can only serve a few customers who have accounts at selected local banks”. However: “The full introduction of ATM machines that can use international credit cards is months away because of poor infrastructures”.
Thus, Burma’s future remains a big challenge in many ways but what we can be sure of is that is the country is becoming a new tourism hotspot (even if for now on, the true number of tourists is “a far cry from neighboring countries”). For instance, the “Thailand will provide around 18 percent of the forecasted 500,000 foreign tourists to arrive in Burma in 2012” and this is a 30 percent rise compared to 2011. The article describes more in details this expected influx of foreign visitors to Burma during the winter peak tourist season and how to manage it. It also reveals that it will go with a “hike in flight prices of nearly ten percent”. Finally, we can notice that this rise of 30 percent of Thai tourist arrival will bring earnings of “10 percent of the US $400 million the country expects to earn from tourism”
“Hollywood arrives in Burma seeking New Market”: “Twentieth Century Fox International signed a distribution agreement with the local operator Mingalar Company”, with firstly the 3D version of the movie Titanic!
In September, “a special conference on investing in Burma is to be held in London, endorsed by the British government’s UK Trade and Investment Office” in order to facilitate a better understanding of business (tourism, oil and gas, power infrastructure and mining industries) and of the economic and political situation of Burma by the industries concerned.
Last but not least, we let you discover this amazing video about “a camp in Burma’s Shan State which is serving as a retirement home for sick and ageing elephants, providing them with a safe refuge which tourists can still visit to learn to see elephant not just as creatures for entertainment”. An example of responsible tourism at its best.
Spend all a good week!