“We must think and act like a host if we want our country to be attractive among international travelers,” said State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her opening address at the Central Committee for the Development of the National Tourism Industry (CCDNTI) meeting in Nay Pyi Taw the other day.
At the fourth meeting of the CCDNTI, participants discussed the importance and brighter prospects of international tourism amidst global economic trend showing signs of progress in all aspects.
As regards the success of the country’s tourism business, the State Counsellor warned that business-orientation alone might not bring the anticipated progress. “A good host always knows and cares about the needs of their guests,” she pointed out at the meeting that surveyed the international smokeless industry, in which Asian countries like China and Thailand are among those in the forefront.
Normally, neighbouring Thailand receives over 35 million visitors annually, while the number of annual visitors to our giant neighbor China hits 60 million.
According to a global authority on tourism, the number of tourists around the world will reach 1.6 billion in 2020, while 123 million of them visiting Asian countries. In fact, just by hosting even a small portion of this number may benefit Myanmar greatly. According to an address delivered by Vice President U Henry Van Thio at the meeting, over 3.44 million visitors came to Myanmar in 2017, indicating an 18 per cent rise compared with the 2016 figure. Judging by what he said, we can draw a conclusion that Myanmar’s tourism industry is not in a bad shape.
The largest number of travelers visiting Thailand were from Asian countries, including China, Chinese Taiwan, Hong Kong special administrative region and Japan. Nearly 10 million from China visited the Kingdom for various purposes. Normally, they are eager for a vacation in Thailand or a delicious Thai food, but 80 per cent of Chinese people love visiting roadside stalls, where food is cheap and fresh, or tax-free shops and shopping malls, or enjoying cultural shows.
Recently, Myanmar has eased visa restrictions on vacationers from Japan, South Korea and China. In this regard, the Vice President spoke of the need to provide better services at hotels, charge reasonable room charges, keep the food stalls clean and tidy, ensure safety of international travelers and sell hygienic food. He also stressed departmental cooperation in generating greater progress.
Myanmar with her beautiful beaches and islands along the long coastline, snow-capped mountains in the far north, abundant array of valuable natural resources, natural watercourses large and small and rich cultural heritage already has brighter prospects for the success of the tourism industry. What we need is unity, hard work and harmonious efforts, as they are the cornerstone for the development of our tourism industry.