On August 15, the Mekong Tourism Co-ordinating Office reported that Myanmar’s first national ecotourism seminar was held by the newly created Myanmar Tourism Board (MTB) under chairmanship of Deputy Minister for Hotels and Tourism U Htay Aung, and was attended by around 90 participants.
During the two-day seminar, 16 specialists and operators from the private and public sector demonstrated their knowledge of the principles of responsible tourism as they apply to nature-based activities, and all were eager to gain support to further develop their ecotourism activities.
Presenters showed examples of responsible tourism practices such as the unique and intimate collaboration between fishermen and Irrawady dolphins by WCS, the Zee Oh Sacred forest by the head of the village, and the Kyauk Taw Yaung Private Sanctuary by Dr. Maung Maung Kyi of the Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association (RCA).
All these enterprises face the challenge of implementation in destinations to where tourists, driven by cultural experiences, are now returning, and in an economic context where the kyat has strongly appreciated against the dollar.
The MTB will pursue and develop more such workshops and educational training seminars to provide more input on how to implement responsible tourism practices at the destination level as well to educate local communities.
MTB will develop pilot projects at specific ecotourism destinations to raise awareness for both international and regional travelers and to diversify the product offerings. Such capacity building programs shall be developed with the expertise of international experts in the area of responsible tourism.
The MTB will submit to the focal ministry and related ministries the proposed schedule of the Responsible Myanmar Travel Conference & Exhibition (RM2012) planned to be held in February 2012.
For more information:
Download the presentations at: www.umtanet.org/new2011.
This article was published by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). The MTCO was set up with funding from the GMS Tourism Working Group, which represents the six national governments in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (Cambodia, China, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand, VIetnam). Please learn more at http://mekongtourism.org/