Golden Myanmar Airlines joins ranks of local businesses charging dual prices

FOREIGNERS taking domestic flights by Golden Myanmar Airlines (GMA) should be prepared to pay over 50 per cent more than locals.

Since April 1, the airline has introduced a new price structure with one price category for foreigners and several categories for locals. For a flight between Yangon and Nyaung U, foreigners pay US$89, whereas the lowest advertised price for locals is US$59.

“(Due to) GMA’s trend towards a full flag carrier like other airlines, we have introduced a dual pricing system from now on,” Sabai Phyu Soe, PR and marketing executive for GMA, told TTG Asia e-Daily via email.

Dual pricing is common in Myanmar’s tourism industry. In Yangon, for example, People’s Park charges foreigners more than 16 times the local price for admission.

In March, Yangon’s Winner Inn Hotel advertised on an Internet forum a Standard Single room at US$50 for foreigners and 30,000 kyat (US$32) for locals.

Asked about the dual pricing, Aung Myo Myint, who does business development for the hotel, responded that the GDP in most countries around the world is 10 times that of Myanmar. “If we were to price our local rates to match foreigner rates, locals would not be able to afford the hotel rooms.”

According to Thi Ha, a lawyer from Germany law firm Luther Law Firm’s Yangon office, there is nothing in Myanmar’s law that prevents companies from implementing dual pricing.

But Andrea Valentin, director of Tourism Transparency, opined: “I think dual pricing for airlines is probably not a good idea if there is more competition in the future, but if the Myanmar law allows this then… investors need to be aware of this protectionism.”

“Other countries in the region have taken their time with removing the dual pricing system for foreigners, but eventually they remove it because of market forces,” she said, adding that removing dual pricing may not prove popular with locals.

Source: TTG Asia

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