Myanmar Boosts Independent Travel

Union of Myanmar Travel Association says more efforts are needed to build tour content that will appeal to families and independent travelers.

Myanmar is a hot destination in South East Asia

Myanmar is a hot destination in South East Asia

The association claims too much attention is being paid to tour group business, while neglecting an emerging independent travel market.

Association vice chairman, Thet Lwin Toe, said: “We must try to make the cake bigger. If you can’t expand your market, you will eventually lose.”

He added: “It is true that Myanmar is increasing tourism, but the real profit is to be gained from independent travelers and a change of direction will help the owners of small enterprises.”

Already there are trends that show the tour group market is losing share when compared with other segments, but unlike its neighbor Thailand not much effort has been made to develop niche or special interest tourism to broaden the mix.

According to Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, tourist arrivals for package tours have increased from 66,552 to 148,557 while FITs have increased from 79,074 to 294,218 within the past four years. But most of the FIT markets are traders who cross land borders for short trips.

However, the major problem facing the country is the lack of quality accommodation. Hotels are packed and benefitting from rates of US$190 to US$220 a night compared with US$50 three years ago.

But the supply of quality accommodation is not keeping pace. It will take another two to three years to build enough hotels in the four and five-star market to meet demand.

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