The press conference on the third-year journey of the Union-level entities was continued yesterday. The Ministry of Information, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation answered to reporters in the Ministry of Information’s meeting hall in Nay Pyi Taw.
Dr. Pe Myint (Union Minister for Information)
The Union Minister said MRTV works for its own development and that of private channels as well. They succeeded in organizing licences for five content providers who have began broadcasting last year.
He said the Radio and Television Broadcasting Law has been enacted and a bylaw is being drafted. Once the bylaw has been legislated, MoI will establish the Boradcasting Council outlined in both the law and bylaw, said the Union Minister. He said this will also allow development of radio broadcasting. Currently, there is a pilot project for a private radio channel near Yangon; Htantabin’s Kayay FM. He said this will open the way for organizations and the private sector across the country.
The Union Minister then said the IPRD branches throughout the nation’s townships and districts have opened libraries and office spaces for the public. However, less and less people are reading books nowadays, said the Union Minister, but MoI is carrying out plans to bring the library to the readers. He said they are cooperating with the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation and with Shanti Volunteer Association.
The Union Minister said they are working hard to breed democratic practices, freedom of expression, systematic debates, and democratic culture among the public and to that end they have converted the IPRD offices into community centres. He said the community centres host various clubs for enthusiasts, youths, avid readers and aspiring artistes.
The Union Minister said MoI has been organizing public talks between government leaders and the general public. He said a Hluttaw representative whose constituency covers the public talk’s location, a relevant government official or someone from the NGO sector related to the talk’s topic are present to foster democratic practices.
The Printing and Publishing Department printed 35 million school textbooks last year and will print 39 million this year, said the Union Minister. He said this is a larger number than what external publishers are printing and added that Sarpay Beikman is conducting a multitude of literature distribution and development as well.
The Union Minister then said the News and Periodicals Enterprise is handling the Myanmar newspapers, Kyemon and Myanma Alinn, and the English daily, The Global New Light of Myanmar, in addition to their online platform, Myanmar Digital News.
The Union Minister concluded by saying the newspapers are a source of information on global events and the rising trend sees print media giving way to online media. He said they are working to keep the print media running while developing online media, with one such endeavor being the launch of Myanmar Digital News.
U Ohn Maung (Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism)
The Union Minister opened his speech by applauding the tourism industry as a smokeless factory that boosts the national economy and promotes the livelihoods of all citizens.
He said this year saw the establishment of the Central Committee on National Tourism Development on 6 February, the Tourism Committee on 3 March, and 15 Regional Tourism Committees on 12 April.
The Union Minister said his ministry began digitally marketing Myanmar with increased efforts on 10 April 2019. He said the website www.tourism.gov.mm was relaunched with a new web design on the same day. He said they upload posts, photos and videos for tourist attractions and travel destinations on social media platforms every day.
The Union Minister said they began implementing paid marketing campaigns such as Google Marketing and Social Media Marketing in April this year. He said this will generate positive views on Myanmar through the online audience. He said they will implement video campaigns on YouTube in the future. He said they are also working on launching a tourism web portal (www.travel.myanmar.com.mm) for both tourists and people working in the hotel and tourism industry.
The Union Minister said Myanmar upgraded the Myanmar-Thailand border gates of Tachilek-Meisei, Myawaddy-Maesot, Kawthoung-Ranong, Htiki-Phunaron to international border gates on 24 August 2013. He said the Myanmar-India border gates of Tamu-Moray and Reedhorda-Zokawtar were also upgraded to international border gates on 8 August 2018.
The Union Minister said they successfully coordinated with the Shan State Government to allow permission tours to travel along the Taunggyi-Kengtung-Tachilek highway. He said they extended the visa matter on 1 October 2018 to a one-year extension from 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020.
The Union Minister said 3.55 million tourists visited Myanmar in 2018, a 3.15 per cent increase from 2017’s 3.44 million. He said tourists entering by flights, cruise ships and passport visas reached 1.39 million in 2018, while border pass entries reached 2.15 million. He said tourism in the first four months of 2019 have also been exceptionally high.
The Union Minister said they have been actively supporting community-based tourism in the hope that it will decrease damage to the natural environment and elevate the livelihood of the regional locals while highlighting their customs and traditions to the world. He concluded by saying they are working closely with other ministries and organizations to finalize the Tourism Master Plan 2020-2025 that will encompass the entire country.
U Khin Maung Yi (Permanent Secretary of NREC)
U Khin Maung Yi said his ministry has designated 26 protected public forest and reserved forest measuring 42,312,773 acres (25.31 per cent of Myanmar’s landmass) and 43 natural conservation land measuring 9,740,079.42 acres (5.83 per cent of Myanmar’s landmass).
He said they are implementing the 19 tasks of the 2017-2018 to 2026-2027 Myanmar Reforestation Project. He said they managed to raise 30,892 acres of national plantations and reduced the annual logging of teak and hardwood by 39 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, in 2018-2019 FY. He said they began production of teak from plantations in 2018-2019.
The Permanent Secretary said the number of regional groups conducting forestry businesses raised to 827 groups with 1,597 members encompassing over 90,000 acres of forests in the incumbent government’s third year. He said they have increased bamboo plantations to meet the growing need of the people by expanding the formerly 400 acres of plantation to 1,800 acres.
U Khin Maung Yi said from April 2018 to March 2019, the Forest Department seized 7,477.5675 tons of illegal timber and 459 vehicles and captured 829 suspects with collaboration from the local people, local administration, the Tatmadaw and the Myanmar Police Force.
The Permanent Secretary said elephant conservation based tourism has taken off since its inception in 2016-2017 FY with eight new elephant camps opened in the third-year period. He then mentioned the 55th Myanmar Gems Emporium held in June 2018 where 4,329 sets of raw jade and gems sold for 333.28 million Euros in the foreign currency sale and 1,823 pairs sold for K28,661.35 million in the local currency sale.
U Khin Maung Yi said the Union Government established the Working Group for Rehabilitating Migrant Workers in Phakant region on 4 October 2018 with Order No. 99/2018. This group has formed six sub-working groups and engage in conserving Phakant’s natural environment, land management, rule of law, providing vocational training and employment opportunities, and rehabilitation tasks.
The Permanent Secretary concluded by saying that ever since the Political and Security Department, under the Ministry of the President’s Office, allowed daytrips to five state-owned and domestic/external pearl camps in Taninthayi Region on 1 October 2018, there have been 69 foreign tourists and 186 domestic tourists that have generated US$2,259.50 and K3,224,656 as of January 2019.
Afterwards, the officials replied to questions from the media. —Kyaw Myo Tun, Nandar Han
(Translated by Pen Dali)