Entrepreneur taps into the travel market

Ko Mo Lwin, 26, is managing director of Peak Point Travel and Tour Company and Peak Point Business and Website Solution.

“After I got my master’s degree from Australia, I couldn’t find a travel company to suit me. So I started my own, with my own structure and plan.

“Now that tourism is developing in Myanmar, it’s time to develop ecotourism,” he said. Myanmar has many historical and heritage sites like Bagan and Inle, World Heritage attractions such as the three ancient cities of Pyu-Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Kestra and other ecotourism sites.

“If we promote those places, tourism will be a good creative business. We need money from the tourism sector for the country’s development. Other countries promote their attractions and their governments use slogans to promote tourism.

Ko Mo Lwin was ready to open Peak Point Travel and Tour by late 2012, but registration took nearly six months. The official start of the company was not until September 2014.

“I visited all the tourist attractions in the country starting late 2012, as well as overseas tourist attractions to expand the network,” he said. “Many foreign countries develop man-made places as tour sites. This country already has many natural locations and I thought there was a market for them. So I decided to start ecotourism.”

“At first, I used to think a travel company just sold tickets to tourists. But after I opened my own company, I faced many difficulties that I had not expected. Having a master’s degree is not enough. But the power of critical thinking did give me the strength to solve problems.”

It is not easy to start an SME business in Myanmar. Registration, finding a suitable location, dealing with competition and ensuring finance are among the main problems.

Ko Mo Lwin said he did not choose to start his company because he had lined up investment, but rather because he is interested in ecotourism and could not find a company to do it his way.

There’s also the question of customer confidence. “Some companies cheat their customers and then disappear. Building customer trust takes time.

He added that some local tour companies are not as a good at forming partnerships as some foreign firms, where they often cooperate on a venture.

“If I had a good partner, I would want to organise trips to social enterprises in villages. Village residents know far more about their village than tour guides, and can explain it better to visitors,” he said.

“I’ve also tried not only in-bound but also out-bound travel and tours. Now our company can serve customers who want to visit ASEAN countries for work or leisure, or maybe even Australia and other countries.”

His Master of Business Information Systems degree is from Australian Technical University. He serves as a part-time lecturer at Myanmar Metropolitan College and is a social enterprise consultant with the British Council.

“Information Technology is more and more developed and it will assume a greater role in future. My Website Solution company is ready to offer consultancy and research services to big companies wishing to invest in Myanmar,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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