Three-year project to promote tourism in Myanmar’s Kayah state

MYANMAR has kicked off a new US$1.9 million joint development programme to nurture the tourism potential of the eastern state of Kayah, funded by the Netherlands government.

Launched late last month, the project is co-designed by the Netherlands Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries and Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), and will be implemented by the ITC.

The project aims to raise awareness about tourists’ needs, build capacity of tourism-related suppliers and services, reduce poverty through job creation, set up tourism-related associations in Kayah, among others.

Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily, Kyaw Min Htin, vice chairman, Union of Myanmar Travel Association, and managing director of Myanmar Polestar Travel and Tour, commented: “There are a number of travel agencies doing tours to Kayah state, but it is not popular yet. However, more travel consultants are preparing to include Kayah state after the official announcement of this project.”

Kayah, bordering Thailand, is known for picturesque views and for being home to diverse ethnic groups with rich cultural heritages. But the lack of development has prevented more tourist traffic to the state.

“The lack of infrastructure is the main obstacle that needs to be overcome in developing tourism in Kayah. The state has very few hotels, so we need more accommodation and of course better transportation facilities,” noted Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, chairman of Myanmar Tourism Marketing, and managing director of All Asia Exclusive Travel.

When implemented, the million-dollar scheme will benefit more than tourism.

“Kayah needs development, not only for its attractions, but also in the form of education for locals. Some long-neck local tribes go to the Thai borders to make more income rather than do business on their land. Hopefully, this will change their lives in the near future and boost tourism,” said Aye Nyein Chan, sales and marketing manager, Orchestra Myanmar Travel.

Source: TTG Asia

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