MoHT unveils COVID-19 relief plan to restart tourism industry

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Ministry of Hotels and Tourism organizes the ceremony to launch the COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan at the ministry in Nay Pyi Taw on 9 June 2020.  Photo: MNA

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism launched the COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan at the ministry in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, providing guidelines for implementation of the plan.
Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism U Ohn Maung said world’s tourism industry has been paralyzed following the cancellation of airlines, travel restrictions, and 14-day or 21-day quarantines due to COVID-19.
Myanmar is one of the countries hit by the novel coronavirus. Foreign tourists’ entry into the country was banned, and domestic travelling was also restricted following the stay-home rule in April. With the closures of hotels, guesthouses, travel companies and restaurants, jobless rate in the country has increased creating socio-economic impacts.
A total of 4.36 million of tourists visited the country in 2019, and some 400,000 travellers came to Myanmar in January 2020. However, the entry of tourists into the country decreased to less than 100 in April.
To promote Myanmar’s tourism industry, the ministry drew up the COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan, which includes three strategies, following the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP).
The tourism relief plan was drawn up based on the tourism crisis management guidelines from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and suggestions from the tourism organizations.
The ministry will implement the plan as a COVID-19 Myanmar Tourism Strategic Roadmap. The three strategies of the plan are survival, reopening and re-launching. Each strategy involves four major processes.
In the “survival” stage, taxes will be relaxed, licence fees will be reduced, rental fees will be postponed and loans will be provided for the hotels and tourism businesses.
The ministry will continue organizing online training for tourism professionals and staff, discussing travel destinations and tourism market assessments.
In the “reopening” stage aimed to be implemented in June, July and August, standard operating producer (SOP) will be sought for the health and safety of travellers and staff.
The ministry will also provide aids for the human-powered vehicles’ drivers and vendors, and promote tourism market and domestic digital payment system developing e-commerce and digital platforms.
The “re-launching” stage aimed to be implemented in August will launch communication & marketing campaigns to attract foreign visitors.
The third stage will include easing of travel restriction and providing incentives to investment. Cash aids and loans from allied organizations will be requested in this stage, and a fund will be established for longterm.
In June, the ministry will issue tourism national guidelines, which is mixed with the guidelines from Ministry of Health and Sports and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Pagodas, museums and parks will also be reopened in the stage in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports. The Union Minister said the tourism industry in the “new normal” condition will re-operate step by step in accordance with the ministry’s roadmap and in cooperation with related tourism organizations.
Deputy Minister U Tin Latt and Director-General U Maung Maung Kyaw answered the questions raised by the attendees on implementation of SOP, the ministry’s plan on containing virus infections when travellers visit, how to support the businesspersons and staff by the ministry, and the ministry’s post COVID-19 plans. — MNA (Translated by Kyaw Zin Tun)

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