THE Asian Development Bank is considering assistance to develop Myanmar’s tourism industry, a senior official said last week on the sidelines of the Greater Mekong Sub-region tourism meetings in Bagan.
Mr Craig Steffensen, country director of the bank’s Thailand resident mission, told The Myanmar Times that the ADB would “study and watch how we can support Myanmar tourism”.
The most likely avenue is through the ADB’s Sustainable Tourism Development Project (STDP), which is currently implemented in Laos and Vietnam.
While tourist numbers have increased significantly since 2009, he said there were great opportunities for future growth, particularly with the government keen to support the sector’s expansion.
“[Myanmar’s] tourism sector is blooming rapidly. Hotels and airlines are all booked now; this is a good sign,” he said. “But we want to know how Myanmar can handle this situation in the right way. We are considering how we can help [but] can’t say when and how much we will provide.”
He said that tourism growth would also bring challenges, such as cultural and environmental protection, and these could be addressed through the STDP program.
“Myanmar should take care of [these issues] and find the right way to promote tourism. We are also looking forward to the chance to work together not only on [tourism] but also other sectors, such as the environment,” he said.
Tourism consultant Daw Kyi Kyi Aye said Myanmar only receives indirect support from the ADB through Greater Mekong Sub-region projects.
“But now ADB attended this GMS meeting in Myanmar and they are interested in [supporting] our tourism sector. It would be very good if they could provide infrastructure and technical assistance on sustainable tourism development,” she said.
Daw Khin Than Win, a director at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said she believed the bank’s policy on Myanmar was becoming more “flexible”.
“As Myanmar is not in a position to initiate strategic projects, we requested the ADB to provide some assistance regarding the building of tourist information centres and the provision of technical expertise,” she said.
The ADB is a regional development bank established in 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It has 67 members, of which 48 are within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
Source / Fuente: www.mmtimes.com
Author / Autor: Yu Yu Maw
Date / Fecha: 12/12/11
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