Need to raise tourism promotion budget to increase national revenue: Yangon govt

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A tourist couple visiting Myanmar’s national landmark Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.  Photo: Phoe Khwar

To increase the revenue of the nation, a bigger budget needs to be allocated for tourism promotion activities, according to Naw Pan Thinzar Myo, the Yangon Region Minister for Kayin Ethnic Affairs and the deputy chairman of the regional tourism committee.
“Tourism revenue can contribute to the economic development of the country. Therefore, we need a somewhat bigger budget to promote the tourism industry. If the Ministry forwards a project proposal which clearly states the budget spending in each sector in the industry, the Hluttaw can screen the proposal to debate and approve it. This way, the tourism sector can improve. However, the current budget allocation for the tourism sector is extremely low,” she said.
“The tourism sector can create job opportunities and also earn revenue for the country. When the budget was allocated, only a small amount went to the sector,” she added.
“More than 1 million tourists enter the country per year. We can earn around US$1.3 billion. But, budget spending in this sector is less than 1 per cent of the national income,” said Naw Pan Thinzar Myo.
“To boost the tourism sector, good customer service is first priority. We are working with 11 associates to set ratings of hotels, motels, and restaurants,” she said.
“Myanmar has many tourist sites. However, good customer service is important to attract tourists. We need to make sure they feel comfortable and get a good service. Skilled labour is also needed to provide healthy and clean service to customers in hotels and restaurants. The 11 associates are preparing to set the ratings of hotels and restaurants to ensure food safety,” said the minister.
Mostly, Chinese tourists have entered the country this year. Over 740,000 travellers visited Yangon in the seven months till July, an increase of 100,000 compared to the year-ago period, according to U Naing Win, the director of the Yangon Directorate of Hotels and Tourism.
Earlier, the hotels and tourism sector was regulated by the Union government. Under the Myanmar Tourism Law 2018, the sector has been decentralized and more power given to the regional and state governments, said Naw Pan Thinzar Myo.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein is the chairman of the regional tourism committee. The members of the committee include officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Yangon City Development Committee, the Union of Myanmar Travel Association, Civil Society Organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations, including the Union of Myanmar Travel Association.

By Nyein Nyein(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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