We hope you all enjoyed the pleasant Christmas holidays and we are thrilled to welcome you to this new Weekly EcoBurma Round-up.
This week’s spotlight is on:
The need to promote the development of responsible, cultural and of quality tourism in Burma
Now, let’s open this article with some key tourism figures that may help to illustrate the magnitude of the strong tourism growth in Burma for 2012.
Indeed, “Myanmar gears up for tourism”. As follows, Burma is on its way to becoming an increasingly more attractive destination worldwide, and especially within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by the end of this decade. In order to “position the country as a player with a big future in Asean tourism” and to explore and measure possible future developments and impacts of the prospective investments on tourism and hotel industries, “Yangon will host the country’s first tourism conference, organized by the Myanmar Tourism Federation and Sphere Conference of Singapore, over three days in February”.
We let you discover the other articles of this link.
More precisely, “Shwedagon Pagoda breaks tourism record in 2012”.
In this way, 300,000 foreign tourists visited this amazing site last year. This means that the number of visits has increased more than 4 times since 2008. The article states that “tourist donations reached over US$ 1.4 millions in 2012”. Although, with respect to responsible tourism, it can play a major role for the sustenance and economic development of local interests, it is important to ensure increased transparency and clarity on where the money is used, if only for Swedagon and related monasteries or if some goes to State administration.
As in all Buddhist holy sites, visitors must be dressed appropriately and modestly to visit Shwedagon Pagoda. “Visitors have been prohibited from wearing shorts, short skirts, tights, skirts and dresses with side slits and back slits, and revealing tops”. Thus, although no specific strict dress code is required, sarongs and scarves are offered to tourists for free use. Shan-style jackets and trousers will be provided too in the future. With respect to responsible tourism and with an attitude of tolerance and respect to local communities, the diversity of culture, traditions and way of life should be respected and understood. This respect can be reflected in simple and humble behavior day to day such as to realize that too slinky, casual or ostentations outfits are likely to offend.
Above all since, in a very encouraging and heartening way, “foreigners are increasingly taking an interest in the country’s culture, and the longyi clothing style seems to enjoy particular popularity”. In this sense, tourists themselves are playing a positive role in developing friendly relations between local populations and in promoting the social and cultural Burmese traditions. By understanding those we meet during our journey, we can contribute personally to safeguarding of people and nature. And as highlighted by numerous declarations, this Burma’s national dress is all the more appreciated for its “comfort in the local tropical climate or its stylish appearance”: “I was in shorts when I came […] but I thought it was more appropriate to wear this. It’s comfortable and has good air circulation for this hot weather.”; “I got a blue one and my buddy got a maroon one and the response was spectacular […]. I have this vivid memory of this guy coming to his balcony and yelling ‘chaw tae’ at me, which I believe means ‘handsome’”. In addition to be worthwhile and appreciated, to buy and wear such traditional clothes is also good for business of local sellers.
However, on a less positive note, we continue on further progresses that need to be achieved concerning means of transports. Indeed, to promote and maintain quality tourism, it is absolutely essential to have a good quality of service, in particular in the field of transportation. As it was shown in a very hurtful way by the crash on a 21-year-old Air Bagan Fokker 100 jet on approach to Heho Airport on Christmas morning, it is necessary to adopt specific measures to improve the quality of today civil aviation security. Even if Burmese government and the Tourism Ministry attempted to reassure foreign visitors and “has played down the possible impact of the fatal Christmas Day plane crash on Burma’s tourism industry”, “Burmese airlines should be very concerned about air passenger security and do proper maintenance on their airplanes” so as not to endanger the growth of tourism industry. These airplanes are aging and need to be replaced, in accordance with the new regulations. All the more since some foreign visitors already choose to abstain from using some Burmese airlines as Air Bagan and Air KBZ.
Concerning the railway industry, the figures show a steady rise in foreign passengers, especially for Yangon’s circular train and express trains from Yangon to other parts of Myanmar. Indeed, “The fare is 100 kyats (bout 11 US cents) for local passengers and 850 kyats ($1) for foreigners”. However, although, tourists seem to enjoy increasingly to take the train as the relaxed pace allows a greater appreciation of the region’s admirable scenery, some improvements are also required to address the safety, the reliability, the punctuality of services and good comfort of Burmese rail transport.
We are delighted to inform you on our brand-new campaign spot. It was largely produced inside Burma by the filmmaker Moe Thorn and featuring Adam Fraser in his awesome performance portraying a hedonistic tourist in a luxury resort. We also plan to produce other language versions.
Watch and Share! We also invite you to submit your feedback!
Have all a good week!