Myanmar Travel CompaniesBurma Tour Operator
Regional tourist companies in on-line contest
In the midst of the good tidings about the dramatic increase in the number of visitors in recent years, a small black clouds is hidden. More and more information and reservations are being received by travellers via the Internet, jeopardising the large number of small and medium-sized regional travel operators that have emerged for the tourist booming.
It is estimated that within a few years the web could make up 70 per cent of the travel sector and push up against the walls locally, says Daw Sabei Aung, CEO of Nature DreamTrevels. "Online advertising has already begun to influence our tourist sector. The Myanmar Times reported that the Myanmar operator is loosing out.
"We train our travel agents on the web and hire international webmarketers. She said: "We need public funding to rescue medium-sized travel agencies. Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand have the same problems, but everyone has found their own way to deal with them, she said. A number of Thai travel agencies have vanished.
"That is why our administration should take a cautious stance on the on-line tourist market," said Daw Sabei Aung, and added that the Thai administration has been acting through the Thai Tourist Board to safeguard small businesses. On the Philippines, the federal authorities are demanding that tourists be reimbursed by the hotel for offering lower rates to onliners.
"The Filipino govt compelled hotel owners to prefer hotels over on-line agents," she said, while Vietnam broadly enhanced its touristic service. Since 2011, governance reform has opened the land to more and more visitors, as information has become available on the web. Besides the most famous touristic attractions, travel within the Kayin and Kayah states, which were previously forbidden for international visitors, is becoming more and more common.
This development has led to an increase in the number of individual travelers known in the retail sector as Free Independent Travelers (FITs). Since 2013, according to the Department of Tourism, the number of hotels has been increasing twice as quickly as the number of holidaymakers on packages. Elegant Myanmar Tours CEO U Thaw Tar Nyunt said: "As the number of tourists continues to grow, international competitors will intensify.
In addition, he added that overseas companies that previously worked with Myanmar counterparts due to monetary problems are now acting more autonomously to maximize their earnings. "They are already acquainted with the on-line market," he said, encouraging them to work more intimately with each other and with hotel owners so that on-line owners cannot benefit from lower tariffs.
Amazing Hotels and Resorts Group General Managers Daw Huing Huaging Win said: "Online reservation levels have risen in comparison to other years. If you are a would-be tourist who wants to surf the Internet, you can find your guests' ratings and make reservations for you. "We still rely on group packs as the figures are still higher than for onlinebooking.
According to Myanmar Airways International, the volume of airline ticket purchases on line has also risen by around 30 per cent. "The most booked by travelers and businesses is online," says Daw Aye Mra Tha, MAI General Managers of MAI. Aliens can use good web access to make the lowest cost reservations on-line, she said.
"After all, on-line advertising will also help locals," she added, saying that it is important for tourism companies to use on-line advertising to advertise their product and keep up to date. Myanmar Market Committee Chairman U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said that tourist can make airline and accommodation reservations on line cheaper than some companies.
"The agencies have to work more hard to market their service to the public," he said, and added that the benefit of having travel operators locally is their understanding of the countryside and their capacity to quickly adjust to changed client needs. The majority of Myanmar's properties use www.agoda.com, www.hotels.com and www.booking.com, which are available in 40 different global dialects.
Agoda.com has already opened an agency in Downtown Yangon and Expedia.com is working with a small scale travel agency to work out agreements with inns, hostels and hostels across the province, said Daw Sabei Aung. "Until we can enhance our service like Vietnam or get the US federal administration to favor the Philippines, the US federal administration should provide fiscal benefits to the hotel and airline industries to help secure our industry," she said.