Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge opens traffic to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand

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Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than presents souvenir to Thai official at final casting of the 2nd Thai-Myanmar friendship bridge. Photo: MNA

The Final Casting Ceremony for the Second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge was held at temporary briefing hall in Myawady, Kayin State on 30 March morning.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister for Construction U Win Khaing said that the bridge linking Myanmar with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand lies on East-West Economic Corridor. The bridge was constructed at a cost of Baht 3,900 million with the assistance of Thai Government and the Traffic Change Over and Border Control Facilities (BCF) will be built by Thailand, he added. The Union Minister, Transport Minister of Thailand Dr. Arkhon Ternpittayapaisith, the speaker of Kayin State Hluttaw and officials opened the bridge.
The Mudon-Myawady concrete road was put into service in Myawady Township, Kayin State on 30 March, with an address by Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than.
The Kayin State Hluttaw speaker, state-level ministers and officials from the Ministry of Construction cut the ribbon to open the new concrete road. Similarly, they opened Eindu-Zarthapyin Road and posed for documentary photo before strolling along the road.—Myanmar News Agency

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanma Railways to run express trains in Mandalay-Myitkyina

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A locomotive pulling into Yangon Central Railway Station.

Myanma Railways will run express trains for the Mandalay-Myitkyina route in fiscal 2017-2018, according to the railway system, which operates under the ministry of Transport and Communications.
The express trains have greater advantages than normal trains. Normal trains have a rougher ride because the railroads are not smooth, whereas the newer express trains are much more comfortable for the passengers to ride on.
The express train coaches were imported from China. Myanma Railways had the old coaches replaced with the express ones on Yangon-Myitkyina line for the first time.
The number of passengers has increased after introduction of new express train coaches on the Yangon-Mandalay route.
Express train coaches will arrive in the 2017-2018 fiscal year and become operational soon afterwards. 200

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Govt will assist, not protect, local banks

The government prefers to help than protect local bank services, Union Minister of Finance and Planning U Kyaw Win said.  

He said this was to encourage finance services in Myanmar to develop and compete with those offered by foreign finance institutions.

“Protecting local banks can limit development. The local bank services have been protected for many years.

“We will only provide assistance and give full support. With competition, the quality of these services will improve,” he said on March 18 at the Myanmar Investment Commission Meeting at the Novotel Hotel inYangon.

U Kyaw Win also said there were discussions with banks on easing loan requirements as many local businesses face problems securing loans.

He said they were trying to find alternative ways to allow businesses to get loans without collaterals.

“We will keep negotiating until we find a way to help the local businesses get loans,” he said.

Local entrepreneurs can apply for loans from private banks but due to collateral issues, the service is not widespread.

Local bank services in Myanmar started in 2010. In 2013, local banks were also given permits to exchange and transfer foreign currencies.

In 2015, the government allowed 19 foreign banks to provide services and cooperate with local banks in card system-related businesses.

– Translation by Kyaw Soe Htet

Source : Myanmar Times

Ayeyawady dolphins draw eco-tourists

Tourists are flocking to see and help endangered Ayeyawady dolphins, which are on the verge of extinction, according to Ayeyawady Dolphin Conservation Team.

In a bid to prevent dolphin hunting, the team started to cooperate with tour agencies in 2013 and a plan was implemented in 2015, said U Han Win, the in-charge of Ayeyawady Dolphin Conservation Team.

Under the plan, the tourists come to participate to protect the dolphins from hunters and fishermen. While they are here, they can taste and learn to make local food and observe local sights, allowing the villagers to earn extra money.

Cooking courses are being conducted in the villages where the Ayeyawady dolphin-based eco-tourism has been developed.

The dwindling numbers of Ayeyawady dolphins is attributed to electrocution fishing and becoming trapped in fishing nets. The conservation team, in cooperation with local police, patrol the conservation areas twice a month. Ayeyawady dolphin conservation activities were launched by the Wildlife and Bird Conservation Society and the Fishery Department. The effort is showing results. A total of 72 dolphins were counted in 2011 and 2014, whereas only 60 dolphins were found in some previous years.

Htet Aung (AMIA)

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Beach hotels double prices during Thingyan


File photo shows people swim and play at Ngwe Saung beach in Pathein, Ayeyawady Region.

The rates of hotels during Thingyan holiday went up 50 per cent, as local travelers flocked to beaches, according to an announcement on Jovago.com.mm. The price doubled from advanced bookings, according to the website. The hotels at the beaches and Myeik and Dawei areas are fully booked, said Mr. Frans Mass, managing director of Jovago.com.mm.

Despite the high rates, 70 per cent of the hotels at the country’s most popular beaches — Chaung Thar, Ngwe Saung, Ngapali, Myeik, Dawei and Kawthaung — are booked.

It is usual that high occupancy rates during holidays result in an increase in price. This year, the inbound tour is also highly demanded, said a tour operator.

Nevertheless, the hotel rates in Bagan, Inle, Taunggyi, Kalay, Toungoo remain steady, according to data from Jovago.

Ko Khan

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Grab Singapore enters Myanmar

The leading ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, Grab, started to test its services in Yangon on March 21, becoming the first international company of its kind to enter Myanmar.

The Singapore-based company made a test run with a small group of taxi drivers in Yangon and has arranged to expand their services. Local taxis have already given their services through mobile software in Yangon and Grab Myanmar is the first international company to give the services through mobile software.

“Using mobile phone software to hire a taxi is still a new experience for Yangon residents,” said Cheryl Goh, group vice president of marketing, Grab.

Uber, a transportation network company headquartered in California state, is in discussion with the regional government to introduce their services in Yangon. However, it didn’t reveal when it will launch their services in Yangon. Solidiance, a marketing strategy consulting firm said Myanmar has about 430,000 registered taxis.

The taxi service through mobile software offers a high potential in Southest Asia and companies are competing to have bigger market shares. According a report from Temasak, the market will expand five folds before 2025 and will reach US$13.1 billion.

Grab started its business in 2012 and had a connection with more than 700,000 taxi drivers in 40 towns across Southeast Asia. 

Translated by Aung Kyaw Kyaw

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Myanma Railways to stop running RBE trains during Thingyan

Train-copyMyanma Railways will halt services during Thingyan Water Festival.

MYANMA Railways plans to stop operating of some Rail Bus Engine (RBE) trains in the circular and suburban railroad sections during the Thingyan Water Festival, the most widely celebrated public holiday in Myanmar.
Train schedules will be reduced by half on the holidays, as the MR predicts a decline in its passenger numbers during the festival period every year.
The key objective of the plan is to avoid probable damage to trains during the water festival, said U Zaw Lwin, region manager of the MR’s Transport Division.
Although the MR plans to decrease its train schedules, the trains will still stop at all stations.
The MR is now operating its rail transport services to almost 100,000 commuters on a daily basis through 23 trains and 255 scheduled routes.
The MR puts forth continuous efforts to offer better services to the passengers through several railway improvement projects.
Several railway improvement projects including repair of railroads, replacement of carriages and installation of modern signals and communication systems to run all railways yards and workshops to full capacity have been implemented by the MR in collaboration with Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The MR estimates that the number of commuters is likely to increase after the current projects are completed.200

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Myeik Archipelago attracts more foreign tourists

x-defaultCruise ships in the Myeik Archipelago.

MORE THAN 1,300 motorboat tourists visited Myeik Archipelago in the first two months of this year, a rise from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
The Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 untouched islands, is part of the Taninthayi Region. All islands lie in the Andaman Sea off the coast of southern Myanmar. Since 2016, the natural, unspoiled islands have become increasingly popular among international tourists, most of whom enter through neighbouring Thailand.
In February alone, the beautiful coastal area hosted over 600 motorboat tourists. It received nearly 4,000 visitors last year. In 2015, a total of 3,270 visitors entered Myeik by boat.
Motorboat tourists from Asia, Africa and some European countries enjoy visiting Myeik Archipelago for its beautiful landscapes along the coast such as coral reefs, mangroves and a diverse species of birds and aquatic animals and traditional culture, such as the sea-based life of the Salon, also known as the sea gypsies, a seafaring ethnic minority.
Tourists also visit the country’s first marine national park on Lampi Island, 115 Island, Nyaungwee Island, Philar Island, Myaukni Island, Bocho Island, Nanatthi Island, Tower Rock Island, Cave Island and Satan Island.
Tourism in Myanmar is growing rapidly. International tourists arrivals have increased significantly every year since 2011.200

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanmar eyes higher Chinese tourists next year

Tourists seen at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon on 29 January 2017. The Myanmar Tourism Federation wants to promote Chinese visitors by twofold. Photo: Phoe Khwar

THE Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) wants to raise the number of tourist arrivals from neighbouring China next year, U Yan Win, the Chairman of the MTF said.

The MTF hopes to double the number of tourists from mainland China, the world’s most populous country, in the coming year. According to a global tourism study, more than 130 million Chinese people travel outside their country each year.

Tourism organisations of both countries are trying to promote the number of Chinese visitors to more than twofold in the future, U Yan Win said at the first China-Myanmar Tourism Cooperation Forum held on 2 March in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss bilateral tourism cooperation and private sector development, apart from promoting Myanmar tourism.

Chinese visitors were the second highest number of visitors to Myanmar after Thailand. Chinese tourists mainly visited the country from borders including Muse, Lweje, Kanpikete, Chinshwehaw and Kengtung.

According to the Myanmar Investment Commission, Singapore has topped the tourism investors list, followed by Thailand, Viet Nam, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.—200

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Coffee origin tour starts in Ywangan

Workers dry coffee beans under the sun in Ywangan.

COFFEE origin tours have begun in Ywangan, a popular coffee-production village in Taunggyi District, southern Shan State, by Genius coffee with the aim of promoting the country’s tourism sector and creating more job opportunities for residents.

This is part of a plan to boost international tourist arrivals to the country through agriculture-based tourism. The new plan targets coffee lovers at home and abroad, with the project implementers planning to extend agri-tourism services to other townships in the future.

Under the tour plan, visitors travel to the village to observe the manufacturing process and development of the country’s specialty coffee industry. They will gain a lot of knowledge about the cultivation of marketable coffee beans, ways to boost production and other agricultural-related information in the region.

The coffee grown in Ywangan village is the Costa Rican coffee bean variety that was introduced as a substitution crop for opium in 1985. The township boasts 6,600 acres of coffee plantations across over 120 villages, which has the capacity to produce over 700 tonnes of coffee beans annually.200

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar