Call to support Myanmar’s people

YANGON, 8 February 2021: Myanmar Tourism Marketing made an impassioned plea to overseas tour operators to continue to support and stand with the people of Myanmar.

Following last Monday’s military coup the official marketing arm of Myanmar’s travel industry said it had received “many messages of concern from overseas tour operators, travel media and other stakeholders”.

The MTM press statement read: “Currently, the situation remains uncertain, but there has been no widespread violence nor civil unrest. Instead, people from all over the country, including from the hospitality and tourism industry, have been protesting peacefully and engaging in non-violent civil disobedience.”

Myanmar Tourism Marketing promotes Myanmar as a sustainable tourism destination during the Covid-129 pandemic,  believing the tourism demand will return, and the focus will shift to a more sustainable version of tourism.

“By doing this, we hope to generate income for the people not only working in the industry also those from indirectly linked industries.  At the same time, to show visitors the best of this country – the Myanmar people themselves.”

However, a “ flourishing tourism industry depends upon the image of a country and the image displayed on Monday was bad,” the statement read.

“This (the coup) will have a serious impact on the future livelihoods of all those working in tourism in Myanmar. In the face of this challenge, MTM will continue to work tirelessly in promoting Myanmar as a safe and attractive place to visit.”

After seizing power, the military declared a one year state of emergency and banned all flights both domestic and international until 31 May. However, domestic flights and some international repatriation flights to bring Mynamar citizens home resumed 4 February.

A key aide to ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi became the latest senior official to be arrested on Friday as resistance to the country’s military coup swelled with demonstrations in several parts of the country, even in the tightly controlled capital, Nay Pyi Taw

Meanwhile, the military arrested  Win Htien, a close aide of Suu Kyi at the weekend. Suu Kyi was arrested earlier in the week and faces a ludicrous charge that she breached an obscure import and export law by importing communications devices such as walkie talkies. The deposed President Win Myint was arrested under the disaster management law.

The military coup has not gone untested. France24 a TV news channel reported protests in Yangon mainly led by students and teachers. But there have been reports of Yangon residents banging pots and honking car horns in opposition to Monday’s coup for a third night running.

France24 said protesters at two universities flashed a three-fingered salute, a sign of resistance borrowed from “The Hunger Games” movies, that they adopted from anti-government protesters in neighbouring Thailand.

Internet services blacked out on Sunday but later revived running at around 16% service providers explained. The disruptions cut internet banking services and social media channels.

The military coup the third in the country since it won independence from the British in 1948 is seen as a shocking setback for the Southeast Asian country that had been making significant, if uneven progress, toward democracy after decades of military rule.