Monthly Archives: June 2014

Tourism revenues on track to surpass US$1 billion this year

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Souvenir shops along the stairways of Shwezigon Pagoda (Photo – EMG)

Tourism revenues will surpass US$1 billion this year as the number of visitors to the country continues to surge, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said.

The ministry said it excepts more than 3 million foreign tourists to visit the country this year, up from about 1.05 million in 2012 and about 2.04 million last year.

As of the end of May about 1.2 million tourists had visited Myanmar, the ministry said.

The industry has seen spectacular growth since the government launched its economic reforms three years ago, eclipsing most other industries.

It generated revenues of $534 million in 2012 and $926 million last year. In the first five months of this year it generated revenues of $552 million, putting it on track to easily surpass  $1 billion by year-end.

Hotels, travel agencies, transportation services, tour guides, restaurants and souvenir shops are all seeing rapid growth.

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Htay Aung said that tourism brings in a large amount of foreign currency and that 85 per cent of it flows to citizens.

The industry is also critical because it creates plenty of jobs, he said. Tourism-related jobs could rise from about 300,000 in 2012 to about 1.5 million in 2020, some forecasts say.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar Airways slated to become Myanmar National Airways: Pending legislation

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A photo shows a plane of State-run Myanma Airways. (Photo-Shoon Lei Win)

State-run Myanmar Airways is slated for rename as Myanmar National Airways upon the enactment of the new aviation legislation.

Presently, the Myanmar Aviation Bill has been submitted and deliberated in the Lower House of Parliament after the approval of the Upper House.

“The Bill has been approved by Upper House and now submitted to Lower House. If Union parliament approves the bill, it will come into force. Only after the enactment of the law, the name of Myanmar Airways will be changed into Myanmar National Airways. Its commercial charter will be modified,” said Than Tun, the managing-director of Myanmar Airways.

Myanmar Airlines has the contract to lease ten new Boeing aircraft from US-based GE Capital Aviation Services. After taking deliveries of the aircraft, international flights will be expanded.

The leasing deal was signed in Singapore on February 11.

With the government approval, the state-run airline plans to lease six Boeing 737-800 and four Boeing 737-8MAX. The aircraft would be delivered from June 2015 to 2020.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar welcomes world heritage status

Myanmar on Monday welcomed the designation of its ancient Pyu kingdom cities as a UNESCO world heritage site, marking its first entry onto the UN cultural agency’s prized list.

An annual World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha on Sunday granted endangered status to the remains of the cities of Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra in the country’s Irrawaddy basin.

“We are happy. We all worked hard to make this happen for a long time,” Daw Me Me Khaing, director of the archaeology department at Myanmar’s culture ministry, told AFP.

Inclusion on the list has significant economic implications as a World Heritage Site is eligible for financial assistance toward preservation, while the status is a powerful draw for tourists.

Remains of the palace citadels, brick Buddhist stupas and burial grounds at the site currently draw around 60,000 local and foreign visitors every year, according to Daw Me Me Khaing, who hopes the new status will bring many more.

“We will have a better situation for our heritage sites as we gain experience from this,” she said.

Officials are now campaigning for Myanmar’s better-known ancient city of Bagan, home to a sprawling complex of Buddhist temples, to join the Pyu cities on the UNESCO list, she added.

The temples, some of which are around 1,000 years old, are one of the country’s most treasured religious sites and a top attraction for foreign tourists flocking to Myanmar as it emerges from decades of military rule.

But experts have previously warned that haphazard renovation work on some of the temples has irreversibly damaged the landscape, which could threaten Bagan’s chances of winning World Heritage status.

The brick, walled and moated cities at Pyu reflect the Pyu kingdoms that flourished for over 1,000 years between 200 B.C. and 900 A.D., according to UNESCO.

“These ancient cities built along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) Valley belong to the Pyu, a people speaking a language closely related to Myanmar and now extinct,” UNESCO said in a statement.

The Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) oversees the system of granting coveted World Heritage Site status to important cultural and natural sites.

Obtaining the status for sites is a point of pride for many nations and can boost tourism, but it comes with strict conservation rules.

Other sites given the status this year include a French cave that is home to the world’s earliest known figurative drawings, and ancient terraces in the West Bank that are under threat from the Israeli separation barrier.

Source : TTR Weekly

Ooredoo, Telenor to partner with Samsung for mobile services

International telecoms operators Ooredoo and Telenor will cooperate with tech giant Samsung to provide faster mobile internet services in Myanmar.
Ooredoo Myanmar and Samsung signed a memorandum of understanding last Friday offer customers a range of “Special Bundles” designed to make the most of Ooredoo’s 3G network on data-driven Samsung devices.
Ooredoo’s products and services will include competitively priced voice, SMS and data bundles, high-quality SIMs, customer care and device detection capabilities. This is aimed at accelerating growth in one of the world’s most underserved markets for mobile and internet use, according to the press release.
Telenor Myanmar has also recently signed an agreement with Samsung to cooperate on market development in the telecoms sector.
Samsung produces high-tech smart phones, LED TVs, home electronic appliances, cameras, computers, tablets, and printing presses. It employs over 286,000 people across 80 countries with annual sales of US$216 billion.
Ooredoo Myanmar and Telenor Myanmar will start selling mobile handsets only after they start selling SIM cards, which is expected sometime in September.
Ooredoo Myanmar has been cooperating with local IT companies to provide mobile services in Myanmar and plans to work together with Microsoft besides teaming up with HTC and Samsung.
Telenor Myanmar has also already teamed up with HTC and Huawei as partners for mobile handsets

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Ooredoo, Telenor to partner with Samsung for mobile services

International telecoms operators Ooredoo and Telenor will cooperate with tech giant Samsung to provide faster mobile internet services in Myanmar.
Ooredoo Myanmar and Samsung signed a memorandum of understanding last Friday offer customers a range of “Special Bundles” designed to make the most of Ooredoo’s 3G network on data-driven Samsung devices.
Ooredoo’s products and services will include competitively priced voice, SMS and data bundles, high-quality SIMs, customer care and device detection capabilities. This is aimed at accelerating growth in one of the world’s most underserved markets for mobile and internet use, according to the press release.
Telenor Myanmar has also recently signed an agreement with Samsung to cooperate on market development in the telecoms sector.
Samsung produces high-tech smart phones, LED TVs, home electronic appliances, cameras, computers, tablets, and printing presses. It employs over 286,000 people across 80 countries with annual sales of US$216 billion.
Ooredoo Myanmar and Telenor Myanmar will start selling mobile handsets only after they start selling SIM cards, which is expected sometime in September.
Ooredoo Myanmar has been cooperating with local IT companies to provide mobile services in Myanmar and plans to work together with Microsoft besides teaming up with HTC and Samsung.
Telenor Myanmar has also already teamed up with HTC and Huawei as partners for mobile handsets

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar plans to revise air treaty with France

Myanmar is planning to renew and amend the air treaty with France, in which airlines of the two countries will be allowed to fly seven times a week between their territories, according to official sources.

“We have already discussed with French officials about renewal of the treaty on June 18 and 19. Under the new treaty, airlines from both countries will be able fly to every city with international airports in each country seven times a week,” said an official from Department of Civil Aviation in Myanmar.

Under the existing treaty, Air France is officially allowed to fly to Myanmar where no airlines have been authorized yet to fly to France. Under the new treaty, any airlines qualified will be allowed to fly.

Since 2010, Myanmar has beenrevising air treaties with foreign countries. Under the new treaties, the “single destination” clause has been changed to “multiple destination” where unlimited airlines are allowed to fly.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Number of hotels reach 1000

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Five-star Shangri-La hotel in Yangon (Photo – KyiNaing/ EMG)

The number of hotels in Myanmar has increased to 1,000, according to a report from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

The country presently boasts six five-star, 17 four-star, 83 three-star, 116 two-star and 102 one-star hotels as well as the ministry-approved 599 hotels, motels and inns.

The combined capacity is at 38,722 rooms, considered low and insufficient in comparison to the tourist arrivals.

The ministry has projected for further expansion of the hotel industry and this year will see new hotels entering the market. Several new hotels are joint ventures with foreign investors.

The additional hotel rooms will cater to the growing tourism industry. As of May, the country saw tourist arrivals to have reached 1.2 million. It is projected for 3 million tourists for this year.

Among foreign tourists, 70 per cent are Asians, followed by Americans, Europeans and Africans.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Four Thai banks vie for licences in Myanmar

Thai banks with representative offices in Myanmar have a strong interest in applying for restricted-services licences, after that country recently opened up for such applications from foreign banks for the first time.

Four Thai banks have representative offices in Myanmar – Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikorn-bank. If they can obtain the banking licences, they will be able to receive deposits and provide loans, unlike now when they can only provide consultancy services.

The Central Bank of Myanmar plans to make between five and 10 licences available this year for limited banking services. Only the 42 banks that have already opened representative offices are allowed to submit expressions of interest to win the restricted banking licences.

Of the four Thai banks in Myanmar, Bangkok Bank has the longest history in the country, setting up a representative office in 1995. The other three established representative offices in the past two years.

Kittiya Todhanakasem, first senior executive vice president of Krungthai Bank, said it was hoping to obtain a full branch licence eventually.

She said the competition in Myanmar was intense as there are 42 foreign banks with representative offices but not all will receive a licence. However, KTB will put its best effort into obtaining one.

“We are interested in opening a full branch there to serve clients, as many businesses are waiting for the bank’s services,” she said.

Siam Commercial Bank will submit an application next month, said Kamalkant Agarwal, adviser to chairman of the executive committee. There is a lot of competition because many banks are interested in applying for a licence but no more than 10 will get one, he said.

Myanmar is a high-potential market, in which SCB is interested in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Teeranun Srihong, president of Kasikornbank, said it would submit its proposal for a licence soon.

The licensees are expected to contribute to the development of the domestic banking sector by letting foreign banks participate in the interbank market. They will not be allowed to do retail banking.

Based on the World Bank’s recommendation, a minimum paid-up capital of US$75 million will be required of the selected foreign banks.

According to Thailand’s Board of Investment, as of the end of March, Thailand was the second-biggest investor in Myanmar with total accumulated value of $10.09 billion.

More than half of foreign direct investment in Myanmar is in the power sector, followed by manufacturing at 21 per cent and 10 per cent in transport. Of Thai direct investment in Myanmar, 78 per cent is in mining and quarrying, followed by financial and insurance activities at 17 per cent.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Cebu and Tiger mull Yangon services

Philippines’ Civil Aeronautics Board is considering allocations for airline services between Manila and Yangon, Myanmar.

Cebu Pacific and Tigerair Philippines have filed for permission to fly services with a maximum weekly capacity of 1,260 seats each, which would account for approximately three quarters of the available seat capacity agreed upon by civil aviation officials from both countries.

The last round of aviation talks were held in Yangon, last month, when officials agreed to sign off on an agreement that would allow airlines fly 3,780 seat a week between the two cities. It was an update of an agreement originally signed in 1979.

A Cebu Pacific spokesman was quoted by Business Mirror as saying: “Myanmar is an emerging ASEAN economy with great trade and tourism potential… Cebu Pacific would like to play its part in fostering trade and tourism between our two countries.”

Cebu Pacific already flies to Bangkok and wants to add more services to ASEAN destinations in the build up to an open skies era that starts in 2015.

Even though open skies gives ASEAN-based airlines the freedom to fly between all the region’s capital cities, they still need to file and gain approval and work within certain seat capacity parameters.

Cebu Pacific in March completed the purchase of rival Tigerair Philippines in a deal worth US$15 million.

Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has just concluded talks with international airlines serving Manila that concluded with an agreement to include the P550.00 International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) sometimes known as a terminal fee, into the price of airline tickets effective 1 October.

The inclusion of the passenger fee in the ticket price will be introduced simultaneously by all airlines and will also cover passengers transiting Manila to any destination point.

There are some exemptions such as overseas Filipino workers. They represent around 2 million passengers passing through Manila’s airport.

The MIAA collects an average of 8.36 million pesos per day in international terminal fees.

A total of 7,671,643 international departing passengers passed through the country’s gateway airport in 2013.

Source : TTR Weekly

Microsoft and Myanmar’s company to provide IT training

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The signing ceremony between Microsoft and MCC (Photo-EMG)

The US-based Microsoft Corporation has agreed to work with Myanmar Computer Company to train some 100,000 young people for cloud computing and related information technologies.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding becoming partners in the training programme.

Microsoft Corporation will work together with a Myanmar local company to train at least 100,000 young people in Microsoft’s cloud computing and other latest technologies in the country, according to sources.

Microsoft Asia Pacific president Cesar Cernuda said the software market leader was fully committed to train Myanmar youths for the IT jobs.

“We do not need to wait for upgrading the country’s human resources. This is a right thing to do at any time. So I will implement the training of 100,000 young people to enable them to fill IT jobs in the market. We are going to see more and more people using IT in Myanmar. Microsoft is totally committed to the training partnership to make things happen,” said Cesar Cernuda.

MCC CEO Chaw Khin Khin said the country was facing a shortage of skilled IT professionals.

“What we have signed today is a strategic alliance to join Microsoft in order to close the gap of skilled professionals,” said Chaw Khin Khin.

The training courses will be available in Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yadanabon. Applicants are required to have the background on IT education.

MCC chairperson Tin Win Aung said university students from various academic majors can apply for IT training. They would receive the certificate upon completion of the programme.

Training centres will locate in university campuses to facilitate the students to continue their studies while on IT training.

The Microsoft-MCC agreement is to be implemented over a three-year period.

Source : Eleven Myanmar