Myanmar hosted the first international travel trade event in the country’s historic ancient capital of Bagan, on Sunday, November 27. With the outlook of increased international engagement and a relaxation of regulations, business leaders, investors and global tourism professionals are enthusiastic about the prospects of engaging with Myanmar.
Tour operators, hoteliers, international organizations and government officials from the Greater Mekong Sub-region and around the world attended the Travel Leaders Symposium on Sustainable Tourism. This was to strengthen the opportunities and challenges of managing the anticipated tourism boom in Myanmar. The forum venue is one of the world’s largest ancient cities containing over 2,500 temples dating from the 11th century.
Commenting on event opening H.E. U Tint Hsan, Minister, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said, “We are very proud to host this event in an iconic location in Myanmar. We want to build a successful and sustainable tourism future for the country. Bagan is a good place to start.”
Sessions held during the events were on topics such as sustainable tourism and the environment, best-case practices in community-based tourism and using social media for responsible tourism development. Participants also examined how modern technology such as electronic visas can contribute to the growth of arrivals and the efficiency of tourism in Myanmar and the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. The event wrapped up with a Travel Leaders Roundtable Discussion entitled, The Future of Sustainable Tourism in Myanmar.
Mason Florence, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), said, “Myanmar is quickly re-emerging as Asia’s next fabulous tourism destination for visitors who prefer to travel independently, and pay a premium over joining traditional tour groups. These travelers like to experience and interact at a deeper level with the local culture, heritage, and the people. Myanmar offers an incredible range of such experiences.”