- By Su Thet Hmu (Mayangon)
I made a visit to India on business recently. I took two transits on the way to India via the Kolkata and New Delhi airports. With the increasing number of airlines in India, travelling has become much more popular and there has been a huge increase in the number of domestic airlines and passengers in India using air flight as the main mode of transportation.
The airlines served typical fresh Indian meals to passengers during the flights. I loved the services of the airlines, especially the food, which is like homemade meals. The food was tasty and fresh. The passengers on our flight were people of many nationalities. It is a brilliant idea to serve them with typical Indian food. I wish many airlines in our county would offer these kinds of services to the passengers, whether it is a long trip or a short one. I had to change my Boeing flight, which can hold nine passengers on the way to New Delhi from Kolkata. My seat-back entertainment system has a touch screen with visual technology. There is an option to turn it on and off with the touch screen. With a wide variety of entertainment including music, film and route maps at my fingertips throughout the flight, the passengers can enjoy a variety of films and television programme.
During my visit in India, I was able to visit the Taj Mahal, an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna River in the city of Agra. It took me four hours to go there by car. From there, I had to take a three-wheeled vehicle in order to reach the entrance of the Taj Mahal. All I needed to do is to show my passport and give 500 Rupees as an entrance fee.
Local Business booms
On my way back to my hotel, I felt like walking along the souvenir shops. I took notice of the compound of the Taj Mahal, into which motorcars and many three-wheeled vehicles are not allowed. I believe this is a wise for the welfare of the local residents who want to earn a living. Looking around the shops, I thought of doing similar business in my own country. Myanmar is a country endowed with natural beauty, cultural heritage and archaeology sites which can attract the attention of globetrotters.
As I was travelling in a foreign country, I felt homesick. I want my country to be more developed in tourism which is known as a “smokeless industry”, unlike
manufacturing industries that create smog and pollution. Tourism is an important sector that can have an impact on development of country’s economy. The main benefits of tourism are income generation and creation of jobs for the local people. For many regions and countries, it is their most important source of income.
Shortly after I arrived back in Myanmar, I learnt about the Meiktila Lake and the authority concerned which has been making an attempt to upgrade the lake as a tourist attraction in Myanmar. A large number of local and foreign visitors alike visit the lake aiming to enjoy the beauty of nature and take sightseeing tours.
Myanmar is a country endowed with nature and diversity of animal species. More than half of the country is still covered with forests. The land area of Myanmar has a variety of natural resources, plants and animals. The richness of biodiversity makes Myanmar ideal for ecotourism. Myanmar has a rapidly expanding protected area system. Wildlife sanctuaries are lands preserved and protected from human activity that may disturb the wildlife. The natural forests of Myanmar provide substantial opportunities for ecotourism development.
Tourism, regarded as the smokeless industry, can contribute directly towards our national economic development by attracting foreign money, creating job opportunities and providing cash directly or indirectly to all walks of life. Attraction, accessibility, accommodation and administration are the distinctive characteristics of healthy tourism. For development of Myanmar tourism industry, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is closely cooperating with related ministries, international tour agencies, development partners and private tour operators.
Endeavours of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism
As for the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, arrangements have been made to attract visitors from foreign countries such as Japan, South Korea and China. Plans are under way to boost the tourism sector in many places including Tanithayi Region, Sagaing Region and Chin State. According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, it was learnt that the number of tourists entering Myanmar declined in 2017, but there has been an increase of 2 per cent by tourists from China, Japan and South Korea.
In Myanmar, tourism is one of the most important sectors where the country has vast potential and comparative advantages. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has made major commitments to develop the tourism sector in the future, by integrating tourism in national development plans.
As for the authority concerned and tourism stakeholders, cooperation is of paramount importance to ensure that tourism generates economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of the region, improves working conditions and access to the industry. Moreover, the strategic integrated plans should focus on minimising negative economic, environmental and social impacts.