Myanmar hosts its own travel mart

YANGON, 2 February 2023: The Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association is rolling out invites to boost attendance at its Myanmar Tourism Mart due to convene virtually from 15 to 17 February 2023.

The promotion for its travel mart comes just a day before the ASEAN Tourism Forum convenes in Yogyakarta from 2 to 5 February.

This is the first time Myanmar is hosting its annual travel mart virtually, and it probably makes sense considering the array of travel advisories issued that warn visitors not to visit the country.

The mart is organised by the Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association and supported by sponsors and exhibitors from the tourism industry.

“Recent years have been challenging for Myanmar’s tourism industry, but there is still great hope and positivity, and this mart is an expression of that,” said Myanmar Tourism Marketing Chairman Myo Thwin.

The event will feature exhibiting companies from every sector of the travel industry, including destinations, airlines, hotels, travel agencies and cruises in Myanmar.

The registration fee for buyers, trade visitors, and media is free. The mart organisers say they hand out gifts such as hotel stays and balloon rides for participating buyers who commit to a set number of appointments with exhibitors.

The realities on the ground facing travel and hospitality companies are best described as “tough”, with informed sources saying, “only a handful of expatriates and their families are travelling to Myanmar at present.”

But government propaganda would have us believe that over 170,000 foreign tourists visited the country in eight months, from April to November 2022. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism claims arrivals are double the total in the corresponding period in 2021.

Since the coup on 1 February 2021, more than 2,700 civilians have been killed by the military junta, and more than 13,600 nationals have been arrested and jailed without trial, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners. 

Travel and hotel companies worldwide are pressured by democracy activists to distance themselves from the military junta that is linked financially to airlines, hotels, and travel companies.

However, Nikkei Asia reported in its latest assessment that despite “Western governments having imposed sanctions on military-related companies, they have refrained from imposing sweeping sanctions that would leave many unemployed”.

Western countries have no legal restrictions on companies dealing with partners in Myanmar. The door has thus been kept open for global brands to continue ordering products from subcontractors in Myanmar.

For more information about Myanmar Tourism Mart: