In our new EcoBurma Weekly Round-up, we have chosen to spotlight
UN World Tourism Day 2012, political speech, travel tips and costs of life in Burma.
On September, 27, 2012, UN World Tourism Day 2012 was held in Myanmar International Convention Centre (MICC) under the theme of “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development”. It has provided an opportunity for the Vice-President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to address a positive speech on Burma’s present-day and future of tourism.
Firstly, he appeared keen to affirm that “it [was] a great pleasure to be part of this celebration”. He recalled how important it was that Myanmar has rejoined UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organisation) in June this year, in order to make fully concrete “Myanmar tremendous tourism potentials”.
He portrayed the concerted efforts for “tourism development and management in a sustainable and responsible way in line with the government’s reform strategies and economic liberalization, evidently resulting in the positive trend, and dramatically increasing the number of international arrivals”.
Indeed, it has been said that to become a very attractive destination, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has organized tourism development workshops to “discuss with the stakeholders […] on how to meet the challenges of tourism”. What is essential is that Burma’s visitors (businessmen or tourists) experience “comfort, convenience, safety and security during their stay in Myanmar” and that “they return home with pleasant memories which will be passed on other people who are going to visit or revisit Myanmar”.
Finally, the Vice-President pointed out that it is Myanmar’s responsibility to expand sustainable tourism development in Myanmar “by taking the regional and the World’s best practices in tourism”, and to increase the “economic condition of the local people is tourism business”.
However, if it is an encouraging move that now Myanmar is part of the UNTWO and that the government’s leaders are aware of the issue of sustainable tourism and development, the picture is not all that bright. It still remains uncertain whether tourism will actually increase the incomes of local people. There is no channel yet how the money could possibly move from the pockets of wealthier people who get in contact with foreigners to farmers or other low-wage workers, let alone the ethnic people who live far off the beaten tourist paths. Thus, there are still no tangible changes for local people outside tourist hot spots and as such, local people and tourists must remain cautious on the promotion of sustainable tourism.
“Five must-follow Myanmar travel tips”: this article displays some unusual but interesting tips on how to go beyond the lack of widespread infrastructures and get the “very best out of this stunning destination”.
The first advice is on how to make your bus travel (which is by far the cheapest way of travelling) as comfortable as possible: pack noise-cancelling headphones since, according the author, there are “essential for cutting out the booming, distorted sound of the TV on long-distance bus rides”.
To get the most out of your sightseeing in Myanmar, other travelling advices are highlighted: to go veggie, to wear shoes at all times (indispensable during the rainy season, from June to September)… etc.
We let you discover and value these recommendations to spend a cheerful journey.
The next article is about the cost of travel in Myanmar. It is full of practical and useful information on how not to spoil your trip on the spot. Besides to avoid you to be stressed or fooled there (the information is partly outdated, for example, “do not exchange money in the airport as the government offers an absurd exchange rate” – the official exchange rate has been adjusted to the unofficial one, and the exit tax canceled), this article provides you information on the average prices for accommodation (today, however, costs might easily be twice of what is mentioned), transportation, foods and on going out.
You can see that the author mentions and warns the readers about the government-run hotels, but actually it can be difficult to identify them, as well as, private owners who are not always responsible.
To be on the safe side and have a great journey in Burma, we let you discover and make a beneficial use of these advices!
See you next week!