Myanmar emphasis on ecotourism

YANGON, 31 July 2017: Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism will focus on ecotourism in an attempt to increase visitors to the country.

Ecotourism and community-based tourism are now strong marketing trends used to attract tourists and Myanmar has already considerable experience in homestay and community-linked tourism.

Myanmar currently has 21 ecotourism sites, which include 16 existing sites and a handful of underdeveloped ones, as well as 13 community-based tourism projects in Sagaing, Mandalay, Magwe, and Yangon regions and Shan, Karenni and Kachin states.

Marine tourism is also opening up on the Myeik archipelago. The country is now promoting the archipelago, which lies in the far south of the country. The area is emerging as an attractive destination for travellers who have already visited Mandalay, Bagan and Yangon.

Myanmar will open a new ecotourism site, near Oaktwin and Pauk Khaung townships, in the Bago Yoma forest later this year according to Irrawaddy media.

Myanmar is not the only country in the region that has been developing ecotourism to attract more travellers. Cambodia has recognised the need to spread tourism beyond Siem Reap and the most promising options are linked to ecotourism.

Myanmar welcomed 2.9 million tourist arrivals last year, a decline of 38% in comparison to the 4.68 million visitors in 2015. The huge decline was attributed mainly to new data collection criteria.

The ministry no longer includes day trippers who travel on border passes. Most of them are traders who cross the border for business and return the same day. The travel industry said the inclusion skewed the genuine tourist and revenue calculations on which business plans and market campaigns are based.

The previous system counted all visitors passing international border checkpoints. The current system differentiates between tourists, business travellers, and day trippers.

(Source: Irrawaddy media)