Myanmar cautioned over tourism rush


YANGON, 27 February 2015: Myanmar’s Centre for Responsible Business says some of Myanmar’s flagship sites such as Bagan, Inle and Kyaikhtiyo are already under environmental and social pressure from the negative impacts of tourism.

The Myanmar Times quoted the centre’s survey that claimed tourism has damaged the well-being of local inhabitants and the long-term viability of the tourist attractions has been compromised.

“The number of local and foreign tourists has increased, which has both good and bad effects. We want to increase the positive side and reduce the negative impacts of tourism,” said Daw Thi Thi Thein of the MCRB, who managed the survey.

The centre’s assessment makes recommendations to government, businesses and civil society groups.

inside no 4“Spending by foreigners rose and the number of jobs increased. But negative impacts also increased because big companies pursue projects without negotiating with local residents,” she said.

The survey covered culture, the environment, gender, labour and child rights, based on consultations with residents of each region, she said.

It recommended that the government provide awareness training for local residents about different cultures, capacity development and business ethics. “Tourists might not come back if their experience is not satisfactory,” she said.

MCRB director, Vicky Bowman, added that the government already has policies to encourage responsible tourism, but the lack of capacity and resources means that implementation is incomplete.

“There’s too much focus on hard infrastructure and hotel construction. Myanmar needs to rein in the rush to create hotel zones.”

“Our field research showed that many of the negative impacts were associated with hotel zones. The government’s master plan identified participatory destination management and zonal planning, which is not the same thing as establishing a hotel zone,” she said.