Tourism has experienced continued growth and deeper diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. It can bring about a real sense of pride and identity to communities and provides financial support for the conservation of ecosystems and natural resource management, making the destinations more authentic and desirable to visitors. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and includes more new destinations for tourists. These dynamics turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress, leading to the alleviation of poverty in countries which are heavily reliant on tourism.
In his address at the ceremony to mark 2016 World Tourism Day held in Nay Pyi Taw the other day, Vice President U Henry Van Thio said that as long as those involved in tourism are working together with a sense of responsibility and accountability, the tourism industry will make progress, as Myanmar has seen its tourism sector improve year after year, receiving 4.6 million visitors in 2015, with arrivals expected to reach 7 million in 2020.
Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is implementing community-based tourism development project as an initiative for the progress of tourism at designated areas nationwide and on course of fostering awareness among local community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values. Despite the work and potential of the industry to contribute much to the national development, it remains largely on the sidelines of the formal process at the international level.
According to the World Tourism Organisation, it was estimated that the industry managed to create one-eleventh of global job opportunities, especially for women and youths with 540 million tourists to visit the Asia-Pacific region in 2030, occupying 30 per cent of the world market. The universal recognition of the tourism industry as the world’s biggest and most rapidly developing business is a major step forward, for it has created jobs for skilled and semi-skilled employees both in urban and rural areas.
As any kind of development requires some interference with the nature and overdevelopment comes at the cost of nature with a possible damage to the rare species of flora and fauna, it is incumbent upon officials concerned to strike a balance between the negative impacts and positive impacts of tourism, when natural and man-made disasters and emergencies have become more frequent in the country. Only then, will tourism development of the country be possible and meaningful.