September 21, 2017

Tour operators gear up for opportunities, challenges from AEC

Tour operators gather at Novotel Hotel Max in Yangon yesterday to have a panel discussion on tourism challenges resulting from the ASEAN Economic Community.
Tour operators gather at Novotel Hotel Max in Yangon yesterday to have a panel discussion on tourism challenges resulting from the ASEAN Economic Community.

A PANEL discussion bringing together tour operators in preparation for next year’s ASEAN Economic Community took place in Yangon yesterday with panelists stressing the need for financial support and building capacity and competitiveness for the advent of the regional economic integration.
As business success depends on successful marketing, a careful marketing budget is imperative to business success, said U Phyo Wai Yan, chairman of the Myanmar Tourism Marketing committee.
He cited research by the Tourism Authority of Thailand saying that the agency plans to spend 124 million bahts on its marketing campaigns to attract 7.74 million high-end tourists in ASEAN next year.
“It is time to set up a budget for our country’s tourism marketing by the government,” he said.
During his call for a tourism promotion fund, Daw Khin Mi Mi Tun, a director from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, replied that budgets have been allocated to the private sector for tourism marketing since last year.
On the role of tour guides in enabling the industry to compete with regional counterparts, U Zar Ni Htwe, managing director of Adventure Myanmar, expressed his candid view of them.
“Travel guides need to be professional at work, rather than seeking praise from tourists for their hospitality,” he said.
U Moe Kyaw, central executive committee member of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, also pointed out that the onus is on the industry stakeholders to protect their own business through its unity while facing service liberalisation.
In his presentation introducing AEC, the CEC member questioned who will benefit from the AEC, ASEAN’s six developed countries— Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines— or CLMV nations, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
“We plans to hold more talks on separate sectors following the results of this panel discussion”, said U Thet Lwin Toh, chairman of the association.
In Myanmar, tourist arrivals this year have reached 4.2 million, with the ministry estimating that the number will increase up to 5 million by April next year and top 7 million by 2020.

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