Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Myanmar aims to attract more travelers from Japan

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism aims to lure more Japanese travelers to the beaches of Myeik archipelago in the JATA Tourism Expo in Tokyo from September 21 to 24.

A scenic view of Myeik, Tanintharyi Region, southern Myanmar. Local tour agents say Japanese tourists will increase if the country can offer more water activities. Myanmar TimesA scenic view of Myeik, Tanintharyi Region, southern Myanmar. Local tour agents say Japanese tourists will increase if the country can offer more water activities. Myanmar Times

The ministry will be setting up booths which will showcase the pristine beaches and islands of the Myeik archipelago.

Regional tourism ministers of Tanintharyi Region, Kayah, Rakhine and Kayin states would also be attending the expo to promote tourism development in their areas, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said.

Among those that will be highlighted at the expo are Ngapali beach, Ngwe Saung beach, Chaungtha beach and Myeik archipelago since 60 percent of Japanese out-bound travelers like to enjoy water activities for relaxation, U Ye Tun Oo, chief executive officer of Vivo Myanmar travel and destination management company told The Myanmar Times.

“Japanese holiday makers will increase if we can create more water activities and attract more working-age travelers. Currently, our destination packages, such as Bagan, Mandalay and Inle lake, are only for retired persons,” U Ye Tun Oo said.

‘We want tourists to be satisfied during their trip and share their experiences with their friends,” said Minister U Ohn Maung. Myanmar Times‘We want tourists to be satisfied during their trip and share their experiences with their friends,” said Minister U Ohn Maung. Myanmar Times

There were over 100,000 Japanese travelers who visited Myanmar in 2016, but only 15pc of them are tourists while 85pc are business travelers, cooperation workers and workers in INGOs.

Myanmar had a total of 2.9 million foreign tourists in 2016, a decline of about 38pc from a year ago.

“It doesn’t matter if the percentage of tourists decline, the more important factor is we need to have real tourists statistics which is our ministry’s responsibility. We want tourists to be satisfied during their trip and then share their experiences about our country to their friends. It is a word of mouth promotion,” said U Ohn Maung, union minister of hotels and tourism on July 29.

According to the tourist arrival statistics, travelers from Asia market -- the medium and short-haul countries -- are still main market for Myanmar rather than the long-haul market, U Ye Tun Oo said.

“If we can promote in China, South Korea and Japan in-bound markets that would be more reliable tourism development. That is why we need to extend to short and medium-haul markets,” he said.

However, beaches destination in Myanmar need to create more water activities for tourists because it is very weak at the moment. Basic infrastructure such as accessibility, public toilets along the high way road, recreation parks, as well as human resources development still needs a lot of improvement, he said.

The horse-cart drivers in Mingin in Sagaing Region and Inwa in Mandalay drive like they are in a horse-cart race when they take visitors. They should be trained to take better care of the visitors. We need to improve human resources skills first, U Thet Lwin Toh, chairman of Union of Myanmar Travel Association told The Myanmar Times.

“If we will implement tourism development without preparing basic infrastructure for the tourists, they all will not return again. So we need to be well integrated with private, public and government to be prepared to satisfy our customers, “U Ye Tun Oo said.

The Ministry of Hotel and Tourism said that from January to end July a total of 2,019,749 tourists visited the country, a 22pc increase from the same period last year.