Tourism law faces delays

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YANGON, 6 August 2015: A law designed to update and simplify the current 20-year-old legislation covering tourism could stall due to a parliamentary deadlock.

National League for Democracy MP, U Phyo Min Thein, told the Myanmar Times that a draft tourism law now in the pipeline might not even be submitted for consideration in parliament until next year.

“It’s more likely to meet international standards if we take more time to study it,” he said.

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism director, U Tin Wai, was quoted saying: “We’re trying our best. The Attorney-General’s Office is checking the draft now and will send it to the President’s Office.”

inside no 3“We hope the bill can be submitted as soon as possible, but we want to get it right and to take into account suggestions received.”

Travel professionals, experts and agencies were invited to state their opinions on the draft in June.

A key feature of the new law allows each state and regional government to issue local directives without requiring central approval from Nay Pyi Taw. Tourism-related definitions would also be updated to conform to modern international practice, the report said.

According to the tourism ministry, the new law would replace outdated sections of existing legislation, which was enacted 20 years ago. For example, the fine for infractions in the old law is only K5,000 (USD4.49).

Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee secretary, U Kyaw Swa, said existing legislation did not address changes in the industry in recent years.

“But putting too many rules in the new law won’t be good. The law should contain clear provisions, as well as penalties for infringement,” he said.

Tourism is one of the top five priority sectors in Myanmar to boost the economy. Last year, the country attracted 3.08 million visits increasing 50.73% from 2.04 million in 2013. Tourism generated an estimated USD1,789 million in revenue compared to USD926 million in 2013.