Myanmar looks to agritourism, other novel ideas to boost revenue

There are plans to leverage on agritourism in five states and regions across Myanmar to support the ailing sector, according to Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association. Agritourism involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch.

Discussions are also being concurrently carried out with state and regional governments, with priorities being given to Yangon, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions as well as Kayah State and Chin State. “We are discussing the viability of implementing agritourism in Myanmar. Potential areas will be selected after ground surveys are carried out and we have plans to start operating when the tourism sector reopens,” said Daw Aye Thida Moe, vice chair of the Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association.

Agritourism is being considered as it is complementary to the livelihoods of the majority of Myanmar people. “We can complement the usual tourism destinations with new agri-packages and activities that are attractive to tourists. This type of tour has good potential,” said tour guide Ko Ye Win Swe. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is also creating new tour packages designed to draw tourists back to Myanmar. These include sightseeing flight tours, inland convoy tours as well as sea and river cruises and will start being rolled out this month.

U Naung Naung Han, Chair of Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association said that while flight tours will be difficult to take off, the remaining packages are likely to be well received. “These could be popular with tourists when they return. It would be a good idea to launch pilot projects,” he said.

The Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association is already arranging to start tours on the Yangon river and organise trips to destinations along the coastal areas, he said. Tourism licenses will be issued by regional and state tourism and the industry expects to reopen at the beginning of 2021. Currently, the Myanmar tourism and airline sectors have ceased operating and Meanwhile, international airlines have also been suspended from landing in the country since April, leading to an overnight collapse in the number of tourists entering Myanmar.

This, in turn, has had an impact on restaurants, shops and transport, which have also suffered huge losses. Revenue from tourism has dropped by more than 80 percent, or around US$2.3 billion, since the pandemic in Myanmar, according to a survey by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. The survey covers the tourism sector together with other related sectors like international airlines, domestic transportation, food and beverage, accommodation, entertainment and culture as well as shopping.

Since COVID-19, revenue generated from all these sectors totalled US$543 million compared to US$2.8 billion in 2019.
A recovery plan is in place to aid the industry under which tourism businesses will be permitted to resume operations with COVID-19 prevention measures in place, U Ohn Maung, Minister for
Hotels and Tourism, said earlier this month.- Translated

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Source : Myanamr Times

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