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SAC Vice-Chairman Deputy PM Vice-Senior General Soe Win addresses meeting 1/2022 of central committee on national tourism development

THE first meeting (1/2022) of the Central Committee on National Tourism Development was held yesterday afternoon in Nay Pyi Taw. Vice-Chairman of the State Administration Council Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win attended and addressed the meeting. The meeting was attended by Union ministers, the chairman of the Nay Pyi Taw Council, deputy ministers, tourism experts, and representatives from tourism associations through video conferencing. While addressing the meeting, the Vice-Senior General said the purpose of the meeting is to cooperate among the members of the central committee to support the socio-economic development of the people through tourism and to prepare in advance for the challenges and difficulties that may be encountered. He highlighted the impact of COVID-19 in the global and domestic tourism sector by comparing the number of tourists in the pre-pandemic period and the post-pandemic period. Myanmar received 4.36 million tourists in 2019, and after the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, it received 0.9 million in 2020 and 0.13 million in 2021. Health restrictions have been eased to make it easier for international tourists to visit Myanmar. From the first day of Myanmar New Year on 17 April, regular international flights have been allowed to operate, he said. As of 25 May, 20,657 domestic passengers and 5,561 foreign passengers arrived on regular international flights. There is an average of nine airlines and 282 landings per day. He said there is good potential for tourism to resume as Myanmar has a lot of tourism destinations to attract tourism, such as coastal regions, underwater coral reefs, large natural parks such as Lampi island, archaeological sites for the study of art and construction techniques such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the Death Railways in Thanbyuzayat in Mon State. The traditional culture and food of the ethnic nationalities are also attractive to tourism, and it is necessary to be able to capture the interesting attractions that already exist, he said. The Vice-Senior General also added that more than 33 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Myanmar, including 0.28 million people working in the tourism industry and tourism activities must be carried out in line with disease prevention rules and regulations. In addition, the reopening of border crossings will be considered as international tourists visit Myanmar through border crossings. Myanmar is working with international and regional organizations to resume post-COVID-19 tourism, and to adopt ASEAN-level policies for mitigating and rehabilitating the regional impact of the COVID-19 disease, which is part of the ASEAN Tourism Recovery Plan, development of common health guidelines, the establishment of ASEAN Travel Corridors and drafting and mutual recognition of ASEAN-level Travel Pass and Safety Protocols. He added the need to gain the trust of tourists who will visit Myanmar, and the fact that the destination is a COVID-19 safe destination with health& safety protocols is the most effective marketing and promotion tool for promoting the destination. He also added that the online and digital platforms have become widely used during the pandemic and it is the time for those involved in the tourism industry to apply the changing technology. He also talked about the Enchanting Myanmar Health and Safety Protocol (HSP), national-level HSP, Guest List Management System-GLMS, cooperation works of region/ state tourism committee to use the Guest List Management System at the hotels, granting of national ID cards for people to enjoy local tours easily and develop the local tourism sector. He highlighted the need to hold seasonal festivals, ceremonies, sports competitions, and traditional festivals and explore the beauty of nature to lure the local and foreign visitors as the country boasts of unique culture, tradition, religions and nature that provide various tourism sectors. He also added that the region tourism committees should supervise each level for the recovery of the COVID-19 hit tourism industry and to be familiar with New Normal. It needs to prioritize the tourism industry of the region/state in drafting region development programmes and fulfilling the basic infrastructure to develop that sector. Moreover, the committees should supervise the entrepreneurs in paying the taxes to the State in the hotels and tourism sector. He then pointed out the measures to prepare for the people with disabilities in the tourism sector, create job opportunities for the disabled to ensure a tourist destination for all types of travellers in implementing a responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He also highlighted the role of the tourism industry as the main economic sector for regional development and as a tool in creating economic growth and job opportunities, conserving the culture and natural resources and promoting mutual understanding between international tourists and Myanmar people, and called for proper works by following the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Then, Central Committee Vice-Chairman Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism Dr Htay Aung reported on tourism-related matters. Afterwards, the participants discussed the decisions made at 1st meeting, pilot projects for barrier-free tourism and other matters. Then, the Vice-Senior General concluded the meeting after Director-General U Hlaing Oo of the Office of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism explained the formation of the Myanmar Tourism Board. — MNA Source From: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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