Monthly Archives: July 2013

UNDP provides cash assistance to conserve Inle Lake

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has already presented US$ 350,000 to eight Non-Government Organizations and civil society organizations to carry out environmental conservation tasks in Inle Lake, Tun Paw Oo from UNDP Project Manager said.

The UNDP’s fund will be spent for conservation and rebuilding of Kalaw Creek of watershed area of Inle Lake.
The NGO will carry out the conservation tasks such as creating of job opportunities, joint cooperating of agriculture and livestock breeding, nurturing of forest, establishing of public based forest, making of activities to promote knowledge skills on environmental conservation in the public, conducting of capacity building between students, families and social organizations, providing of drinking water and supplying of electricity to villages.

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EU reopens preferential trade with Myanmar

Myanmar is set to profit from a preferential trade agreement with the European Union (EU) starting on July 19, according to an EU press release.

“This has the potential to make a huge difference to the country’s economic development and to bring real benefits to the people of Myanmar,” said EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

“The EU is also going to help Myanmar to boost the capacity of both public and private firms to make use of these new opportunities,” he added.

According to that special privilege, Myanmar will gain duty-free and quota-free access to European markets under the terms of an ‘everything but arms’ trade agreement starting today.

The Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) has allowed developing countries to pay lower import tariffs on some or all of their exports to the EU. The EU has granted GSP’s to the 27 least developing nations of the world, with Myanmar now among them.

The EU suspended trade preferences for Myanmar in 1997 due to the country’s violations of core international conventions on forced labour.

The EU has agreed to open its trade relations with Myanmar since President Thein Sein visited five EU countries from February 25 to March 8.

The International Labour Organisation concluded that significant achievements had been made by Myanmar although there some problems persist.

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UK to invest in Myanmar’s oil, gas and travel sectors

The United Kingdom has pledged to invest over US$385 million in Myanmar in two years time, according to statistics of the Directorate of Investment and Company Registration.

The UK invested over US$2659.954 million in March 2011, and the investment is increased to over US$3045.434 million in June 2013. China is still the biggest investor in Myanmar with more than US$14 billion. The UK is standing in 5th place behind China, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The UK is making investment in nine sectors in 2013. On June 12 the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) gave permission to UK-based Leisure Holdings Asia Ltd. to organise river cruises between Yangon, Mandalay, Began, Banmaw, Mawlite and Homemalin. On May 10 the MIC is also allowed the joint venture of UK based HC (Asia) Holding Co. Ltd. and a Myanmar company to establish a production plant of plastic bottles in Mingalardon Industrial Zone.

During his trip to the UK, Myanmar President Thein Sein invited UK companies to invest more. Myanmar has plenty of natural resources and needs foreign investment to develop into an industrialised country like UK.

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Myanmar nominates historic sites for UNESCO world heritage

The ancient cities of Bagan and Innwa in the Mandalay region will be submitted for inclusion to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, according to officials from Myanmar’s Department of Archaeology.

“If they are included in the UNESCO list, the world will become more interested in our historical and cultural heritages and more tourists will visit Myanmar,” said an official.

Bagan is situated on the misty plains next to the Ayeyarwaddy River in central Myanmar and is home to over 2200 temples and pagodas that survive from the Kingdom of Pagan. At it’s height between the 9th and 13th century, Pagan was the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. The archeological site of old Bagan, with it’s panoramic views of hundreds of ancient stupas, is one of Myanmar’s main tourist attractions.

The government has also submitted three ancient Pyu cities of Beikthano, Hanlin and Tharekhittra to UNESCO. The government’s previous attempts to have Bagan registered as a world heritage site have failed due to the unauthentic restoration of some of its ancient pagodas and temples by the previous military government. Last month, a stone inscription from Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay was included in the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. Myanmar has been a member of the World Heritage Convention since 1994 but none of its sites have yet been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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Local entrepreneurs invest in hotels and tourism sector

Local entrepreneurs have invested over US$ 7 billion in Myanmar’s hotels and tourism sector, according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration.

The total investment volume of local entrepreneurs in hotel and tourism sector was over US$ 175 billion as of June 10 this year and the current volume has reached over US$ 183 billion on July 1. So far, over US$7 billion has been invested in Myanmar within 20 days.

Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has granted permission to Sanda Hotel to establish a hotel complex on nine acres of land in the historic Bagan area according to a meeting held by the Myanmar Investment Commission on June 29.

There are 794 licensed inns, motels and hotels across the country. Among them, 22 hotels are being operated with foreign investment, four are joint venture with international companies, six are state-owned and 762 are owned by private companies, according to Hotel and Tourism Department statistics from February 2013.

The MIC has allowed Ayeyarwaddy Resorts and Lodges company to construct commercial buildings including an international hotel in Kamayut Township in March of this year and Grand Park Hotel Company for operating hotel services in Mandalay region.

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Three new international carriers to fly direct to Myanmar

three_new_international_airlinesThree new international airlines are planning to fly direct flights to Myanmar, according to a spokesperson from Yangon International Airport.

They are Thailand-based Nok Air, Business Air and Singapore-based Tiger Air. Representatives from the airlines discussed plans with officials from Yangon International Airport to start direct flights in September ahead of the peak tourist season in Myanmar.

“Their representatives came to discuss about the direct flights with us but there will be another step which includes negotiation with the Department of Civil Aviation,” said Win Ko, General Manager of Yangon International Airport.

At present, 22 international airlines and 7 local airlines are operating in Myanmar. Only 15 international airlines flew to Myanmar in 2012. Since then another seven from Japan, Qatar, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and Singapore have began direct flights.

The department will negotiate the day time flights for the three new airlines and will allow night time flights for extended flight schedules to the currently operating international airlines.

National Museum charge fees in local currency for foreigners

The National Museum in Yangon has started charging 5,000 kyats as admission fees for foreigners, according to an official from the museum.

Previously, it was US$5 per foreign visitors.

“[The admission fee] was changed to make it easier for foreigners to pay their entrance fees. As kyats are being used in Myanmar, it is more convenient to collect the fees in Myanmar kyats,” said Ngwe Tun Myint, director-general of the National Museum.

Besides the National Museum, admission fees for archaeological museums in Bagan, Innwa, Takaung, Sale, Beiktthano, Bago, Nyaung U, Thirikhittara, Pakhankyi have also been changed to 5,000 kyats from US$5.

The entrance fees for the cultural museums and libraries in Sittwe, Myitkyina, Loikaw, Pha-an, Harkhar, Mawlamyaing, Pathein, Taunggyi, and Kyaingtong have been changed from US$2 to 2,000 kyats.

Over 31,000 foreigners and 9,800 locals visited the National Museum during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The National Museum is one of the popular tourist attractions in Yangon.

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German foundation to organize tourism workshops in Myanmar’s ethnic regions

Germany-based Hanns Seidel Foundation will organize community-based tourism workshops in Mon, Kayah and Shan States in Myanmar in coming September, the foundation’s representative said.

“We intend to organize the workshops in four regions – Kayah, Mon, Shan and Chin. But, Chin State is not certain yet. Even if we will do in Chin, it will be only in November. Our aim is to help the region’s commercial development related to tourism,” said Achim Munz, local representative from Hanns Seidel Foundation.

“We will encourage the people there to engage in community-based tourism by talking how to protect the region’s cultural heritage and how to attract the tourists with regional products,” he said.

He said the foundation has prepared a draft for the community-based tourism development for Myanmar in English language. It will be translated to Myanmar, and will be published at the end of July.

Founded in 1966, Hanns Seidel Foundation is one of the non-profit political organizations in Germany.

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Tour companies offer 7 day package tours from Myawaddy, Myanmar-Thailand border

Local tour companies have started offering tour packages for foreign tourists in Myawady on the Myanmar/Thai border, according to a managing director from a tour company.

In the past foreign tourists were only allowed a restricted one day visit from the Myawady border gate whereas the Tachileik and Muse border gates in Shan State allowed a 7 day stay over.

“The regional chief minister said that the permission would be given on July 1 but we don’t know when it will be given as they still haven’t finished making preparations. I expect the permission to be given in the near future,” said Saw Moe Zat, managing director of Moe Ko San Travels & Tours Co. Ltd.

According to him, tourists will be allowed to visit Pha-an in Kayin State and Kyaikhtiyo and Mawlamyaing in Mon State through the Myawady border gate.

“We have been making arrangements to run eight 24-seaters minibuses from Myawady to Pha-an and Kyaikhtiyo,” he added.

Myanmar citizens will also be allowed to travel for six days in Thailand using a temporary border pass through Myawady border gate.

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Myanmar discusses enhancing tourism cooperation with China, Japan, S.Korea

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has discussed enhancing tourism cooperation between Myanmar, China, Japan, and South Korea on Friday in Nay Pyi Taw, according to an announcement from the ministry.

The Minister of Hotels and Tourism Htay Aung held a meeting with officials who came to attend the 23rd Asean Plus Three (China, Japan, and South Korea) National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), which came immediately after the 38th ASEAN NTO meeting.

Myanmar and the three countries discussed enhancing tourism cooperation and providing scholarships for the development of tourism-related human resources programmes.

Tourist arrivals to Myanmar has been increasing and among Asian tourists, Thai tops the list, followed by China, Japan, and South Korea.

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