Myanmar Tourism SloganThe Myanmar Tourism Slogan
"All That Glitters is Not Gold, But Myanmar Is"
Bangkok, (June 1, 2012) - With the tourism goldrush in full swing, Burma's Vice Minister of Hotels & Tourism Aung says industries will be learning "from the mistakes" of other nations in ASEAN. Myanmar had 816,369 visitors in 2011, compared to 791,508 in 2010. Mr. Htay Aung, who was in Burma's formal East Asia Summit World Economic Forum last weekend, says that January-May arrival rates have already risen 35% in the same January-May 2011 timeframe and could exceed the one million dollar high.
Mr. Htay Aung says that all ASEAN nationals could gain visa-free entry from 2014 when Burma takes over the ASEAN chair. "This will probably have to be done by 2015 anyway when the ASEAN economic community comes into force," he said in an interim statement at the WEFs.
The concluding WEF meeting on Burma featured booklets and CD's showing the tourism sector's policy, planning and investments outlooks. In one of her several open declarations at the WEF East Asia Summit, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the WEF's main draw, pointed out that tourism is one of the business areas she would like to see the "low fruits" in creating fast jobs for the vast majority of Burma's population.
The result is a new brand slogan: "It' All That Glitters is Not Gold, But Myanmar Is." The line was designed by the Deputy Minister, who says it started in a meeting with the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, Dr Taleb Rifai, in Nay Pyi Taw on 6 May 2012. Now the main issue will be dealing with the golden fever.
Besides recreational and corporate travelers, tourism advisers and advisers have also started to get involved. With the support of a Germany relief organisation, a Europe-wide advisor advises on the elaboration of a sustainable tourism policy. The Norwegian government is financing a tourism sector tourism sector management programme to be completed by the end of this year with the help of the Asian Bank for Economic Cohesion.
Mr. Htay Aung says that everything is done to make sure that tourism is developing according to the books. It means guaranteeing ecological viability, preserving culture, combating extreme poverty, improving revenue sharing and diversifying tourism throughout the country. Htay Aung: "We encourage the locals to become more closely associated with the decision-making processes and tourism operators to get actively engaged with the locals and their companies.
The majority of our guests come from ASEAN and Asia. There are still a dozen requests for permits to establish a hotel or travel agency. Myanmar has ripped up agreements with travel agents and raised prices to astronomic heights. Mr. Htay Aung acknowledges that he could not do much about it other than trying to "educate" the hotel owners that this is not in the interest of fostering a favorable "image" of Burma.
With Aung San Suu Kyi moving everywhere, Myanmar's key position and transport links to neighboring Thailand, the number of motorists will not be a concern. There were 425,193 people in 2011, more than the 364,743 people arriving at Yangon International Airports.