Officials from Myanmar have visited Laos to share their plans for the development of tourism in the country.
Addressing the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality’s (Lanith) 8th Quarterly Symposium, at Vientiane’s Settha Palace hotel, Kyi Thein Ko and Daw Kyi Kyi Aye of the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) said that partnerships, communication among stakeholders and human resource development (HRD) were the country’s key areas of focus.
“Partnerships are a reality of the travel industry,” Kyi Thein Ko told 60 tourism leaders including Chaleun Warinthrasak, Vice Minister of the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism and the German Ambassador to Laos, Robert von Rimscha.
“The MTF’s mission is to develop a strategy to promote the destination, ensure sustainable tourism, and share common interests with all stakeholders. At the same time, we must (tackle) urgent problems such as HRD and visa and customs issues,” he added.
In the area of marketing, Kyi Thein Ko revealed that Myanmar has engaged a branding company to promote its tourism sector, while the MTF is also now exhibiting at regional and international trade shows.
Daw Kyi Kyi Aye stated the public and private sectors share funding for the marketing budget. “The public and private sectors meet often on marketing. This works in Myanmar (as stakeholders realise) the need for marketing is not personal but for the industry as a whole,” she said.
On this issue of connectivity, Daw Kyi Kyi Aye said Myanmar wants to develop international air hubs at its major destinations, along with expressways and more overland routes to neighboring countries, including Laos. A Lao Airline spokesperson later confirmed the carrier was considering launching flights.
Myanmar is also confronting a well-known high-end room shortage, and according to Daw Kyi Kyi Aye the country is aiming to move up-market.
“We don’t want more hotels for backpackers, but for the ‘laptop’ guests, as business travelers spend money,” she said.
Myanmar’s tourist arrivals have doubled every year since 2005, with revenue reaching US$320 million last year. 2011’s total number of visitor arrivals was exceeded by the end of the first half of 2012.