Myanmar pledges regional tourism cooperation


Myanmar has pledged a commitment to developing its tourism industry in cooperation with its neighbours in the Greater Mekong and ASEAN regions.

At the Mekong Tourism Forum, held last week in the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai, the country’s Deputy Minister of Hotels & Tourism, U Htay Aung, promised that Myanmar would work with ASEAN to boost tourism standards and services.

Myanmar has pledged to work with its neighbours
Myanmar has pledged to work with its neighbours

“We are working towards more collaborative approaches in tourism across the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS),” said Htay. “We can’t have a situation where one country implements standards and others don’t. We are signing more mutual recognition arrangements with our neighbours.”

Htay added that Myanmar was committed to working towards the ASEAN goal of ensuring free movement of services, goods, labour, investment and capital between the Southeast Asian trade bloc’s member states.

Olivier Jager, CEO of, told the forum that based on the latest information from 200,000 travel agencies worldwide, hotel bookings for the GMS region were 13% up in July and 19% in August 2012, compared to the same months last year. Bookings for Myanmar however, are 54% for the June-August 2012 period.

“There’s a new urgency to GMS proceedings,” said Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office’s Executive Director, Mason Florence. “While arrivals and earnings are up, Mekong tourism stakeholders are also hungry to grow sustainably. The GMS member countries are sharing their best practices more than ever before to safeguard their tourism future.”

The two-day event also saw the Asian Development Bank (ADB) commit to putting more support behind multi-country circuits and concentrate more on ‘software’ investments such as training, rather than ‘hardware’ investments in concrete infrastructure, which has characterised its involvement in the GMS over the past two decades.

The Mekong Tourism Forum was held from 11-14 June.
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