Monthly Archives: July 2015

MasterCard expands in Myanmar

MasterCard has just launched yet another prepaid card in Myanmar, this time with Myanma Apex Bank Limited (MAB Bank).


Its launch comes exactly three years on from the lifting of sanctions in Myanmar and affirms MasterCard’s commitment to  provide safer and easier ways for Myanmar residents to pay for their travels.

The new prepaid card is also timely given the latest MasterCard survey on consumer purchasing priorities in travel indicates that three out of five Myanmar consumers surveyed intend to travel within the next 12 months (either as much, or more than they did in the past 12 months).

The MAB Travel Prepaid MasterCard provides a secure way for consumers to make payment when travelling overseas for leisure, business or education, and also when shopping on e-commerce sites.

“We know that leisure travel and shopping are on the rise among Myanmar citizens and we hope this product will help to meet their needs,” said Win Min Khine, managing director, Myanma Apex Bank.

MasterCard country manager, Thailand & Myanmar, Antonio Corro said: “Myanmar’s gradual opening up presents many opportunities for entrepreneurship and commerce to flourish, and their progressive participation in the global payments system that MasterCard enables not only aids the development of the local payments landscape, but also facilitates global connections.”

Since 2012, MasterCard has launched prepaid cards together with Co-operative Bank, Kanbawza Bank, Ayeyarwady Bank and Myanmar Citizen Bank with 2C2P, the last of which was also Myanmar’s first smartphone-enabled Prepaid Card.

At present, more than 2,000 restaurants, retail outlets and hotels in Myanmar accept payment cards.

Source and photo : TTR Weekly

Myanmar encourages B&Bs

Bed and breakfast establishments could soon open in the remotest parts of the country, once the draft tourism law has been passed.

One of the first could be in Thandaung Gyi, a town in northern Kayin State until recently off-limits to tourists.

Tourism ministry’s department chief in Hpa-an, Kayin State, U Win Kyaw, told Myanmar Times that would-be operators were already lining up to offer B&B accommodation.

“We have seven operators who want to open B&Bs in Thandaung Gyi. B&Bs should be located away from houses and must have four to eight rooms that can accommodate tourists comfortably.”

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism director, U Myo Win Nyunt, said late last week that the tourism draft law had not yet been submitted to parliament.

“The ministry is not yet in a position to issue licenses for B&Bs, but if a state government or the immigration department allows it they can operate, as long as the premises are far from hotels   and outside cities.”

B&Bs will help expand the tourism industry as they will appeal to tourists who are on a small-budget.

Myanmar Tourism Federation joint secretary, U Khin Aung Htun, suggested B&Bs should be allowed in Kayah, Shan and Chin states, where villagers would be eager to provide such services.

Authorities will have to check the premises to ensure they meet certain standards on cleanliness and safety.

Last year, the country welcomed 3.08 million international tourists increasing 51% from 2.04 million visits in 2013.

This year, Myanmar tourism is expected to attract 4.5 to 5 million foreign travellers.

Source : TTR Weekly

Myanmar’s tourism bank waits for green light

Myanmar’s Central Bank has still to grant permission for  a yet-to-open Tourism Development Bank, that will help to fund travel industry projects and SMEs in tourism.

Eleven Myanmar media quoted Myanmar Tourism Bank managing director, Than Tin, saying: “We expected to get the license in May. But it is still pending and we have to wait to establish the bank until we have central bank permission.”

“Once we have the green light the first bank will be open in Nay Pyi Taw and then Mandalay and Yangon,” he added.

The proposed development bank will provide loans, technological assistance and communications and that is probably why it will be established in the political capital first, as potential projects will require government approval and oversight.

Formation of a public company, investor recruitment, selling of shares, organising and participating in tourism-related events, have all been pre-approved by the government.

This ambitious project is expected to contribute not only to the tourism industry, but also to other related businesses, the report said.

The move to establish a bank solely for tourism comes as a result of a high influx of international tourists. Last year, the country welcomed 3.08 million international tourists increasing 51% from 2.04 million visits in 2013.

Myanmar earned USD926 million from its tourism industry in 2013, and USD1.14 billion in 2014, according to Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Statistics.


MNA faces challenges

Myanmar National Airline will face challenges as it begins a bold international expansion starting with flights to Singapore, according to an assessment made by Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation.

MNA plans to launch services on the highly competitive Yangon-Singapore route in August this year as part of an ambitious international expansion plan, but there are few signs that it has the expertise in professional management to pull off the gamble.

The newly rebranded government-owned airline took delivery of the first of 10 737-800s in June and plans to operate five international routes by early 2016 as it grows its fleet.

“But the airline faces huge challenges as it operates outside the domestic market for the first time in two decades,” CAPA said.

inside no 1The Yangon-Singapore market is already experiencing overcapacity and Myanmar-based carriers have struggled to compete against their Singaporean competitors, forcing cutbacks at Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and the withdrawal of Golden Myanmar Airways from the market.

The latter is now codesharing with Tiger Airways.

MNA will inevitably face the same challenges in Singapore as other Burmese carriers, particularly given its brand is an unknown factor in the international market. North Asia, which MNA plans to enter in the coming months, will also be a challenging market for the unknown carrier, the report claimed.

According to MNA, the airline will launch six weekly flights between Yangon and Singapore 17 August. The flight will depart Yangon at 1015 and arrive Singapore at 1430. The return flight will depart Singapore at 1545 and arrive Yangon at 1700. There is no service on Saturday.

The airline is considering flights to Malaysia and Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea in North Asia. But that is on paper. The reality is the airline will be pressed to make a success of its Singapore venture.

Singapore is currently the second largest market after Thailand. There are currently 40 weekly return flights between Singapore and Myanmar, providing about 15,000 weekly seats, according to CAPA and OAG, aviation information and analytical services, data.

All 40 of the flights are on the Singapore-Yangon route except for two SilkAir flights, which operate on a Singapore-Yangon-Mandalay-Singapore routing.

Total capacity between Myanmar and Singapore has increased by about 50% over the last three years, according to CAPA and OAG data. According to Myanmar DCA data, 620,000 passengers travelled between Myanmar and Singapore in 2014, representing growth of 53% compared to 2012.

Myanmar currently only has three international carriers, Myanmar Airways International (MAI), Air Bagan and Golden Myanmar. MAI is entirely an international operator while Air Bagan and Golden Myanmar currently only operate one international route – Yangon to Chiang Mai in Thailand.

MNA initially decided in early 2014, when it was still known as Myanma Airways, to expand into the international market. The airline last operated international services in 1993, when MAI was established as the international flag carrier, leaving MNA to the domestic market.

Source and Photo : TTR Weekly

Myanmar extends e-Visa to business

The e-Visa system for visitors to Myanmar is now open to business travellers, effective 1 July.

Myanmar Times quoted Department of Immigration and National Registration deputy director, U Aung Thiha, saying the e-Visa for business applicants will be run concurrently with an existing business visa-on-arrival programme.

“The scheme will support the development of Myanmar’s economy by encouraging more businesspeople to visit the country.”

It is probably the most significant development for the e-Visa since its introduction last year, as it opens the convenient online service to high spend visitors many of whom are looking at investment opportunities or attending conferences.

Business visitors have a choice. They can either use the visa-on-arrival service, or go online and obtain an e-Visa.

Both business visa programmes are open to nationals of 51 countries who enter via Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports, he said.

For the business-visa-on-arrival, applicants must have an invitation letter from a Myanmar company that must be registered with the government, and be prepared to show a photograph and proof of identity. Payment is by credit card.

The e-Visa costs USD70, USD20 more than the business visa-on-arrival.

The deputy director said: “We will reply within an hour, but full acceptance will take three working days because we need to approve the required documents. The business e-Visa will be valid for 70 days, but can be extended with the agreement of the relevant ministry.”

The letter of invitation and photograph need to be scanned as a jpeg file and then inserted in the online application form. The system offers secure credit card payments. There is a limit on the size of jpeg files and usually the only potential snag when applying online is when an applicant attempts to copy and paste files larger than the system can accept.

Since the ministry allowed tourists to apply for e-Visas last September, 111,734 have been issued, he said.

“Now we allow citizens of 100 countries to apply for a tourist e-Visa for USD50. The service might be expanded depending on survey results.”

Under the existing policy, applicants for a stay permit need a multiple-entry business visa from a Myanmar embassy and eligibility for this visa is conditioned upon the issuance of a number of single-entry business visas, the report said.

51 countries on the business e-Visa are:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Taiwan, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vietnam.

For more information visit

Source : TTR Weekly

Vietnam’s FPT Wins Telecoms Services Licence in Myanmar

FPT, Vietnam’s leading technology company, said it has secured a licence to provide fixed telecoms and internet services in Myanmar, becoming the first 100-percent foreign-owned firm to operate in the field there.

Myanmar’s communications and technology ministry granted FPT the 15-year licence, which will also allow the Hanoi-based firm to provide telecom services on NFS (I) or network facilities, including online games, e-news, websites and e-commerce services, FPT said in a statement.

It said FPT Myanmar, established in 2013, had a revenue of $13.5 million last year in Myanmar.

Myanmar has a population of about 55 million and cellphone usage has soared in the past year since foreign operators started providing services in the wake of the opening up of its nascent telecoms sector.

Giant software company FPT announced yesterday that it will provide fixed telecoms and internet services in Myanmar, becoming the first 100-percent foreign-owned firm to operate in telecoms in the country.

Currently, six Myanmar corporations have received the NFS (I) licence, while FPT is the first foreign company to be licensed.

Duong Trieu Dung, general director of FPT Global, said FPT’s capacity and experience in providing telecom services in developing countries, such as Cambodia and Viet Nam, and its long-term commitment to investment, was the reason that Myanmar’s communications and technology ministry agreed to allow FPT to invest in the country. (Agencies)

Source : Myanmar Business Today