Inbound tours popular among locals

The number of inbound tour visitors have increased year on year, said Dr Myo Gyi, the vice chairman of Domestic Pilgrimages and Tour Operators Association.
“The number of holidaymakers has risen. More tour destinations are created across the country”, he added.
The number of visitors doubled from that of three years ago. There were 7.1 million domestic travellers in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Most of them are day trippers as well as 4-day 3-night tour visitors.
“A person spends Ks 100,000 in a minimum for a route and the local visitors purchase souvenirs and make donations.
They play a vital role in inbound tours and so they must not be neglected and be given special attention”, he continued.
Previously, only Taunggyi, Inle, Bagan, Kyaiktiyo hosted large numbers of local visitors. More recently, the Myeik Archipelago, Ava, Sri Ksetra (Thayakhittaya), and the Phoe Kyar Elephant Camp have attracted the attention of local travellers.
Apart from January, May and June, each region and state is crowded with local pilgrims and visitors during public holidays. “Chin State and Kawthoung are designated as new tourism places in the coming open season. Kachin trips, which were suspended, will be opened again, said a pilgrimage operator.
Trips linked with the Domestic Pilgrimages and Tour Operators Association looks to be safer and sounder with the services of their skillful and friendly tour guides, said U Myo Gyi.
“Our pilgrimage has started to practice garbage collection during our trips in order to raise awareness of environmental conservation and to keep the environment clean”, he added.

May Thet Hnin

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Nok Air launches new flights between Mae Sot and Yangon

New flights to link Mae Sot and Yangon

The Nation/ANN – Nok Air is launching a new international direct flight between Mae Sot and Yangon, starting from 29 October. The airline began accepting reservations on the route from 19 September.

From October to December, this year, Nok Air will operate three return flights per week on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

From January to February, next year, the frequency will be increased to four return flights per week, with an extra flight on Thursday.

From March 2018 onwards, there will be a new return flight every Saturday, bringing the frequency on the Mae Sot – Yangon route to five flights per week.

Nok Air will operate on the route using its new Bombardier Q400 aircraft with 86 seats.

Mae Sot is Thailand’s westernmost district, located about 86 kilometres from the city of Tak. Facing Myanmar on the opposite bank of the Moei River, Mae Sot is a major trading spot for jade and gems and for general shopping for Burmese clothing, decorative items, original Burmese blankets and slippers, and so on.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Singapore investors channeling private equity to Myanmar SMEs

A worker at a Myanmar pharmaceutical factory. Singapore private equity firm Credera Group is raising funds to invest in sectors including healthcare. Photo: The Myanmar Times

Credera Group, a Singapore private equity (PE) firm, is raising a $100 million PE fund to invest in greenfield ventures in the finance, manufacturing and consumer product sectors in Myanmar, according to DealStreetAsia

The PE firm is currently in advanced talks with stakeholders in those areas and “a lot of the deals are getting closer to fruition,” Gaurav Manghnani, CEO of Credera Group was reported as saying.

Despite over 250 microfinance institutions and banks in the country, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar often face challenges in obtaining the funds they need to expand owing to stringent bank loan regulations and under-developed financial infrastructure.

It is this gap in the SME lending space that Credera Group is betting on. Currently, the PE firm is already in the process of teaming up with an Indian non-banking financial company as a strategic partner to co-invest and set up an equipment finance venture in Myanmar.

It also sees opportunities in the import substitution space, saying that the most lucrative investments can be found in this sector. It is currently looking to set up a sugar factory in Karen State and is also been evaluating possible investments in the cement manufacturing sector.

Education and healthcare are two other spaces of high interest to Credera Group. DealStreetAsia reports that the PE firm has looked into a couple of deals in the higher education space and is likely to expand its venture with a young professional team of entrepreneurs of Myanmar.

In the healthcare space, Manghnani said Credera is more interested in niche services than hospitals. It is reported to be searching for a potential local partner to invest in this space as well as operating partner that understands the dynamics of Myanmar.

Source : Myanmar Times

Hong Kong’s flagship carrier increases Yangon flights

Please read the full article @

Source : Myanmar Times 

Foreigner fees to rise at Mandalay Hill

A submission has been issued to Mandalay Region government to increase entrance fees to Mandalay Hill for foreigners, said Mandalay Hill trustee board chair U Thein Tun. 

The matter had already been submitted to the government last month, the trustee board said, on October 9.

“Right now, since we did not receive any reply from the regional government, we cannot start collecting increased fees. It will be collected when the approval is granted. Present fee is still K1000,” the official said.

Regarding the inquiry to the Mandalay regional government, an official replied that due to more imminent business, the discussion on the topic had to be delayed. The increase of entrance fees to Mandalay Hill has not yet been discussed.

The proposal suggests raising fees from the current price (K1000) established in April 2015 to K3000 for foreign tourists.

“The current fee is extremely low. The new rate is also not that much. Foreign tourists will be able to afford it,” explained U Thein Tun.

The official further explains that the price hike aims at palliating the decrease in revenue from photography services, victim of smartphone pictures.

“The famous pagodas are visited by a lot of foreigners. In order to derive some revenue, we started collecting fees. Instead of asking money from tourists, we should ask the shops to sell items to them. 

“Then we should collect money from the shops. Although it’s true that tourists are coming here because they have money, it does not mean that they want to pay for everything,” said U Soe Win, a tourist guide from Mandalay.

The number of tourists coming to the hill during travel season is 500 to 700 per day, while it was only about 200 at other times, the records revealed.

From the beginning of the year until August, more than 66,000 foreign visitors toured Mandalay Hill, generating over K66 million in taxes, according to official records.

Source : Myanmar Times 

Proposal for designation of Mrauk U as World Cultural Heritage Zone

An ancient temple in MraukU. Photo Win Min Soe (District IPRD)

U Tun Ohn, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, said that a draft proposal asking for designation of Mrauk U as a world cultural heritage zone will be submitted in September 2018, in meeting with members of the implementation committee over suggestions on Rakhine State and responsible officials from Maungtaw district.
To initiate the preparation for designating the Mrauk U region as a world cultural heritage zone, the Rakhine State Government will spend Ks38.5 million.
“There are three kinds of heritage — cultural heritage, natural heritage and mixture heritage — culture and nature. Mixture heritage is the kind such as Inlay Lake. Mrauk is cultural heritage. So arrangements are being made to have the Mrauk U region enlisted as a world cultural heritage site. On completion of the preparation tasks, the proposal (draft) will be compiled and submitted to UNESCO in September 2018. After that, a board consisting of 21 countries in UNESCO will make a survey in Mrauk U IN 2019 to decide the designation as a cultural heritage zone by voting”, U Tun Ohn said,
If Mrauk U is designated as a world cultural heritage site, data collection will be carried out for conservation of other areas in Rakhine State, it was learnt. If it can be implemented, building up an airport in Rakhine State and upgrading the tourism industry in the area will be carried out in consultation with respective ministries and, other economic enterprises and industries related to the region will develop.

News Min Htet Aung, Tin Maung Lwin

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

Tourism in Mandalay sees increase in arrivals in early peak season

Tourists visit pagoda in Mandalay. Photo: Maung Pyi Thu

WITH the introducing of new Mandalay-Bangkok-Yangon and Mandalay-Hong Kong flights at Mandalay International Airport, the number of international visitors to the country has significantly increased in early peak season.
According to the directorate of hotels and tourism, Mandalay hosted 203,145 foreign travelers between January and August.
This time last year, a total of 194,520 tourists entered the region. The majority of visitors are from China, Thailand, India, Singapore and Viet Nam. Citizens of Japan, Austria, New Zealand, Britain and the US also visited the region through border points of entry. They trips to Bagan-Nyaung U, Buddhist archaeological site, Mandalay Cultural Zone, the Ava ancient city continue all year round.
A scenic hill town PyinOoLwin is one of attractions in Mandalay and it is always crowded with visitors at home and abroad.
The directorate of hotels and tourism estimates that tourists arrivals in Mandalay is likely to increase than that of previous year.—Maung Pyi Thu (Mandalay)

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

Indian gov’t nods for signing MoU for Conservation of Earthquake-Damaged Pagodas at Bagan

A woman walks past a damaged pagoda after an earthquake in Bagan, Myanmar August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Indian government has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan yesterday, according to New Kerala in India.
The MoU is expected to be signed during the visit of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Myanmar during 6-7 September 2017, said the report.
Implementation of the project will further strengthen India’s enduring ties in culture and religion with Myanmar. It will also generate immense goodwill for India among the people of Myanmar due to the religious significance as well as the touristic significance of the project.
It will also contribute to India’s development partnership with Myanmar. Bagan is one of the premier tourist attractions of Myanmar. It will be an opportunity to showcase India’s expertise in the restoration and conservation of monuments not only to the people of Myanmar but also to the tourists from other countries.
On 24 August 2016 an earthquake in Bagan region destroyed various pagodas and religious buildings.
Bagan, once a significant city in Myanmar, had over 2,200 pagodas, stupas, monastaries and other structures left from the thousands built between the 11th and 13th century.
The earthquake which occurred at 5pm on 24 August last year measured 6.8 on the Richter Scale and ruined 389 pagodas in Bagan and 3,133 pagodas and stupas in the greater Bagan region.

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

Yangon police install 411 CCTVs in 25 townships

Workers install CCTV in Yangon. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Yangon regional police have installed 411 CCTVs in 25 townships of Yangon in an effort to reduce crime, according to a report in the Myawady Daily yesterday.
The CCTVs have been installed in nine townships in the East district, six townships in the West district, five townships in the South district and five townships in the North district. There are altogether 411 CCTVs at 168 points in 25 townships.
The CCTVs will be monitored from control centres which are located at township police stations. Police will monitor the cameras and arrest those who are seen committing crimes, said superintendent of police Hla Wai from the Yangon regional police commander’s office.
Police have already installed 15 CCTVs at the Pazundaung night bazaar for the safety of the shoppers, said an official from Yangon City Development Committee.
To be able to reduce the crime in the Yangon Region, a combined team comprised of Yangon regional police and ward-based teams have been undertaking law enforcement measures since June 2016.

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

Yangon city railway upgrade in October

Two locomotives on railway lines near a rural railway station.  Photo: Phoe Khwar

The upgrading project for the Yangon circular train will be implemented on 1 October at a cost of over US$300 million, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The upgrade will increase comfort and safety and is scheduled to be completed in 2022, said an official from Myanmar Railway, which operates under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
U Thurain Win, Managing Director of Myanmar Railway, said it is possible the project could be completed before 2022, but the finishing date was chosen in case there are difficulties.
The total cost for the project will be $301.29 million, with $94.76 million from Myanmar and $206.53 million in loans from a Japan fund.
The Myanmar Railway will use the national fund of $94.76 million for work upgrading stations, repairing railway, over-passes bridges and fences for platforms. The loans from Japan will be used to buy new diesels, train coaches and alarms for 25 car-crossing locations along the railway.
While upgrading the railway, people will not be faced with difficulties, officials said. Routes will run normally, with the work done mainly in the afternoon when there are fewer travellers, said U Tun Aung Lin, general manager of Myanmar Railway (lower Myanmar).
Upgrading for the east part 1 through Danyingone station to Paywet Sate Kone station, a distance of 7.25 miles, will be done from 1 October to 31 January 2018. For the east part 2 from Paywet Sate Kone station to Yangon (Pazundaung), a distance of 8.5 miles, the work will be done from 1 February 2018 to 31 May 2018.
For the west part 1 of Danyingone-Insein (3.75 miles) the work will be from 1 October to 31 December 2018. For the west part 2 of Insein-Kyimyindine (5.5 miles), the work will be performed from 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2019. For west part 3 of Kyimyindine-Yangon (2.75 miles) the work will be done from 1 April 2019 to 31 May 2019.
It currently takes about three hours for a passenger to ride the full circuit of the circular train, but this will be reduced by about one hour after the upgrade, officials said.
The upgrade will increase efficiency, and the new coaches will replace aging, dirty coaches.
“We want the trains to be on time. As for good loaders and vendors, they need to throw their trash away systematically”, said a train passenger.
There are 2.5 million passengers who commute daily in the Yangon Region, with most of the people depending on cars. But about 90,000 per day use the train.
The Myanmar Railway said they will try to increase train passengers from 90,000 to 263,000 by 2022. The current speed of the train is 15 kilometers per hour. In 2022, the speed of the train is expected to be 26 kilometers per hour for normal travel and 60 kilometers per hour for fast travel, said the Myanmar Railway.
The railway is 46 kilometers long, with 38 stations and 25 train coaches run in daily routes.

Ko Moe

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar