The National Tourism Development Central Committee held a 1/2021 meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday to review the committee’s objectives and plans for Myanmar tourism sector.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a video message to the meeting.
As the chairman of the central committee, Vice-President U Henry Van Thio talked about the impacts of COVID-19 pandemics on the Myanmar tourism industry and its related sectors. World Tourism Organization estimated about 100 million unemployment across the world, with negative implications on micro, small and medium-sized businesses that mainly employ the young people, including women, economic, social and health sectors, and conservation of cultural industry and societies.
In accord with the National Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment guidelines, the National Tourism Development Central Committee is implementing the COVID-19 Myanmar Tourism Impact Relief Plan (2020), which includes three phases in the index of COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP).
Phase 1 Survival could bring over K500 million relief for hotel and guesthouse businesses, nearly K450 million for tour agencies and about K100 million for the tour guides. The tax levy was suspended for six months. Rental of FDI hotels was reduced by 50 per cent for nine months, relieving a total of near US$6 million for the ministry and K1,800 million for State-owned hotels. The committee could manage to get over K21,000 million loan with 1 per cent annual interest for the hotels and tour agencies. Basic and advanced cash for training courses were conducted for the staff members for hotels and tourism businesses and people from the related sector. K4,800 was given per day for nearly 3,000 trainees and K10,000 per day for almost 1,200 tour guides, and experienced hotels and tourism staff members, who acted as trainers. A total of K230 million was spent on this programme.
Phase 2 Reopening included conducting pieces of training in line with the manual of National Tourism Guidelines for Safety Measures against COVID-19, which was adopted from the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture and the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Businesses were allowed to reopen with the enforcement of safety measures, and digital marketing was also promoted for safe tourist destinations.
Phase 3 Relaunching includes organizing ‘non-landing sightseeing flights and river cruises in line with the Enchanting Myanmar Health & Safety Protocol approved by the national COVID-19 control committee. Caravan tour and day trip flight will also be arranged to Ngapali and Bagan soon. The protocol to secure the World Travel and Tourism Council’s trust in Myanmar as a safe tourism destination will be implemented.
Plans are also underway to relaunch the tourism sector in the third quarter of this year with ASEAN member countries and Asian countries. Cross-border tourism with Laos and Cambodia will be carried out for ‘travel bridge’. ‘Travel bubble’ with Thailand and Viet Nam are being arranged and expanded to Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Macau where the COVID-19 has successfully controlled.
In line with the protocol, the cash for training courses are being conducted by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population by spending K140 million for 300 trainers and over 1,000 trainees.
Plans for the resumption of international flights are being carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry, the Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and the Mistry of Hotels and Tourism. Besides, preparations are being made to develop the ‘travel bubble’ among partner countries to allow business travellers and package tours.
The Vice-President also called for collaboration among the tourism industry stakeholders to ensure more resilience and inclusiveness under the sustainable development goals to liberate from just relying on the natural resources.
He also explained the UNWTO Priorities for Global Tourism Recover and the UNWTO Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism adopted by the Global Tourism Crisis Committee to recover this industry in the post-COVID-19.
The 37th ASEAN Summit also issued the ASEAN Declaration on Digital Tourism’ on 12 November last year, while the member countries are implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF).
The Myanmar Tourism Recovery Strategic Roadmap (2021-2025) has been developed in line with World Tourism Organization guidelines and the ACRF with the approval of national COVID-19 committee to promote natural tourism, ethnic tourism, environmental tourism which focus on physical distancing, rather than on crowded city areas.
Union Minister U Ohn Maung, in his capacity as the Vice-Chairman of the committee, Secretary of the committee and Deputy Minister U Tin Latt, Joint-Secretary and the Director-General from the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism reported on the implementations of central committee decisions, the approval for MTSRR (2021-2025) and Enchanting Myanmar Health and Safety Protocol.
The Vice-President then officially launched MTSRR (2021-2025) and Enchanting Myanmar Health and Safety Protocol.
The members of central committee and Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers and departmental officials discussed the works of respective state agencies for tourism developments in the country. —MNA (Translated by Aung Khin)