Improving national image through tourism

  • By Zin Zin (Tourism)
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The Maha Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery built by Queen Me Nu in 1818, wife of King Bagyidaw, is a fine example of Burmese monastery architecture during the Konbaung dynasty and one of the tourist attractions in Mandalay.  Photo: Kyaw Zeya

The Definition of Tourism varies source by source, person by person. There is no consensus concerning the definition of tourism. Nearly every each institution define “Tourism” differently. But according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) it is as follows:
“Tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries which deliver a travel experience comprising transportation, accommodation, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses and other hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home”
Tourism is the world’s third largest export business, generating 10.4 percent of the global GDP. According to the data, people mostly travel for leisure, recreation and holiday. The number of global travellers is increasing year by year, and it reached 1.4 billion in 2018. Based on the tourist population of 2018, UNWTO predicts a three to four percent rise in the number of global travellers in 2019. Thanks to the better airlines that are charging reasonable fees, the number of tourists from India, Russia, Asia and Arab countries which are the emerging markets will rise. UNWTO expects a stronger “Responsible Travel” because of the prevailing new travel visions including “travel to change and to show,” “the pursuit of healthy options,” and “multigenerational travel.”
Changing market strategies
Unlike in the past, the marketing strategies are significantly changing in today’s world. Marketing is a continually evolving discipline and as such can be one that companies find themselves left very much behind the competition if they stand still for too long. One example of this evolution has been the fundamental changes to the basic Marketing mix. Where once there were 4 Ps to explain the mix, nowadays it is more commonly accepted that a more developed 7 Ps adds a much needed additional layer of depth to the Marketing Mix with some theorists even going further. The 7 Ps are: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process, and Physical Evidence.
Systematic management is a requisite for gaining more market share, and today the societal marketing concept has become more popular. The societal marketing concept adopts the position that marketers have a greater social responsibility than simply satisfying customers and providing them with superior value. Instead, marketing activities should strive to benefit society’s overall well-being. Various strategies and plans are being adopted to improve relationship with customers. Marketing 4.0 or the act of moving from traditional to digital is the much-needed handbook for next-generation marketing. Marketing 4.0 is a marketing approach that combines online and offline interaction between companies and customers, acording to Philip Kotler, an American marketing expert.

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Bagaya Monastery built entirely of teak wood in 1834 is one of tourist attraction in Mandalay. Photo: Kyaw Zeya

Inclusiveness of the changing market concept is important. Today’s marketing 4.0 includes advertising, promotion, getting in touch with the people and direct sales as well as the broader role of the digital marketing. Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers are also included.

Technical market promotion
Global countries are using various kinds of media for advertising and market promotion. So, we need to develop our tourism industry through digital prioritization in accord with the 2018 motto of the UNWTO – Tourism and the Digital Transformation. Tourism industry must transform it into a digital pioneer. Only then will it become the digitalized tourism sector, which has the competitive ability.
Today’s tourists are sharing their experience through the social media and user generated contents, which are digital platforms. The government and all private organizations should try to adopt personalized services for customers through the online.

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The historic Hsin Gyone Fort (Inn Wa Fort) has attracted tourists. Photo: Kyaw Zeya

Situation of the leading countries in tourism
These countries are launching market promotion activities through the digital platforms. They are posting their advertisement in well-designed responsive websites and the social network Medias (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). The most successful websites include Tourism Fiji, Visit Korea, Tourism New Zealand, and Tourism Western Australia of the Asia Pacific region. According to Meltwater, the best Instagram for 2018 include Travel Alberta, Visit California, Visit SLO, Tourism New Zealand, and Visit Singapore. According to Mensfield Website, Discover Los Angeles, Tourism Toronto, Sweden Aibnb, #InLoveWithSwitzerland, Let Nova Scotia Surprise You, and Experience the Philippines are the best video advertisement for 2017.
Thailand, a neighbor of Myanmar, also is a successful tourist destination. It hosted over 38 million visitors in 2018. The promotion activities conducted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TA) through the amazingthailand website and social network accounts are satisfactory.

Improving national image through tourism
Myanmar possesses breathtaking natural sceneries, interesting cultures and traditions, amazing ancient religious buildings, and the hospitality of the locals. So, it has all the characteristics to attract a large number of tourists. But false accusations of some countries have dimmed our national image, hitting the tourism industry hard. Only 3.55 million tourists visited Myanmar in 2018. It is not a satisfactory number.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has been making all-out efforts for the development of the industry. It is taking part in the international tourism shows, hosting internal tourism exhibitions, cooperating with international tourism bodies, assigning tourism ambassadors and distributing leaflets and promotion videos. The Ministry also introduced Digital Marketing in 2018.
The Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) and its sister organizations formed expert organizations for broader marketing activities. They are also using digital platforms including website and social media. The Ministry has upgraded its website into a well-designed responsive website on 10 April 2019. The country is posting attractive photos, videos and articles on the social media in accord with its theme — Myanmar Be Enchanted. The Ministry is also trying to improve the country’s image by distributing authentic online information about Myanmar.
I wish the people to have knowledge of the broader endeavours the government and the private organizations are making through innovative means for the development of tourism industry.

(Translated by TMT)

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