Research & Publications
Myanmar Tourism Master Plan 2013 – 2020
As a result of sweeping political and economic reforms, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is enjoying unprecedented tourism growth. Between 2011 and 2012, visitor arrivals increased by 29.7% and, for the first time in its history, Myanmar received over 1 million international visitors. Other key drivers of growth include the rapid expansion of scheduled inbound flights, eased tourist visa-on-arrival privileges at gateway airports, improving business and investment conditions, and the growing demand for international travel among regional and long-haul markets. Although Myanmar possesses diverse and extensive cultural, natural, and historic assets, it has only begun to develop its enormous tourism potential.
Due to the income- and employment-generating opportunities it creates, tourism is a global industry with special economic significance to developing countries. Consequently, the Government of Myanmar (GOM) has prioritized tourism development in its Framework for Economic and Social Reforms. To help ensure that tourism growth delivers broad and equitable social, economic, and environmental benefits, GOM adopted the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Policy in 2012. The policy is also endorsed by the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF), and is highly acclaimed by both civil society and development partners. The vision for tourism in Myanmar, as set out in the Responsible Tourism Policy is
“We intend to use tourism to make Myanmar a better place to live in—to
In this context, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MOHT)—the agency mandated by GOM to oversee the systematic development of tourism—prepared the Myanmar Tourism Master Plan (the Master Plan). The Master Plan adopts this vision for tourism in Myanmar and the nine aims of the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Policy as its guiding principles. It sets out strategic programs, priority projects, and activities in a long-term implementation framework covering 2013–2020 and a short-term action plan for 2013–2015.
The goal of the Master Plan is to maximize tourism’s contribution to national employment and income generation, and ensure that the social and economic benefits of tourism are distributed equitably. Key objectives for each strategic program are listed below.
Strategic Program 1: Strengthen the Institutional Environment
Strategic Program 2: Build Human Resource Capacity and Promote Service Quality
Strategic Program 3: Strengthen Safeguards and Procedures for Destination Planning and Management
Strategic Program 4: Develop Quality Products and Services
Strategic Program 5: Improve Connectivity and Tourism-related Infrastructure
Strategic Program 6: Build the Image, Position, and Brand of Tourism Myanmar
This report organizes these strategic programs and key objectives to produce a coordinated response to future challenges and emphasizes their interrelationships and equal importance. Similarly, implementation of the Master Plan will emphasize seven cross-cutting themes, including
Gender equity. All tourism policies and development planning will include gender analysis. Men and women will have equal access to economic opportunities, skills training, employment, resources, and decision making.
Environmental sustainability. All tourism-related policies and plans will embrace safeguards and procedures to facilitate sound environmental practices.
Partnerships. Partnerships between the public and private sectors, development partners, and civil society will be encouraged to address development issues, facilitate investment, and build synergies at all levels.
Innovative financing. Mechanisms such as public–private partnerships, micro-contributions, and appropriate taxes and user fees will be promoted to secure the widest possible funding base to support the implementation of the Master Plan.
Regional cooperation. Enhanced regional cooperation in tourism and related sectors will be pursued to exchange knowledge and lessons on good practice, ensure consistency in tourism standards and visa policies, harmonize the collection and reporting of tourism statistics, jointly promote Myanmar with other destinations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and raise the efficiency of tourism-related infrastructure investments.
Ensure access for disabled people. Ensure that people with disabilities are equally able to participate in vocational and professional opportunities in tourism as well as in the recreational opportunities that tourism provides.
Consultation and participation. Steps will be taken to ensure that prior and informed consultations are made with relevant stakeholders, as well as the provision of timely and accurate disclosure of information, to promote gender and ethnic inclusiveness, and enable the incorporation of stakeholder views into decision-making processes.
Myanmar welcomes tourists from around the world and will continue to facilitate smooth and efficient access to the country. Together with MTF, MOHT will work to develop Myanmar as a year-round destination with a geographically spread product base. Importantly, the value and yield of tourism will take precedence over simply increasing the volume of international visitors. GOM will closely monitor the expansion of the sector and encourage forms of quality tourism that are consistent with national, state, and regional development objectives. Furthermore, Myanmar will balance the need to ensure the well-being of host communities and the protection of its natural and cultural heritage with the need to boost tourism’s contribution to foreign exchange earnings and gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
The Master Plan has set a high target of 3.01 million international visitors in 2015 and 7.48 million in 2020. Based on this high growth scenario, tourism receipts are projected to increase from a baseline of $534 million in 2012 to $10.18 billion in 2020, with the corresponding number of tourism-related jobs rising from 293,700 to 1.49 million.
To ensure that this growth is managed responsibly, for the benefit of all of Myanmar’s People, the Master Plan includes thirty-eight projects with an indicative cost of $486.6 million. Twenty-one of these projects, with an indicative cost of $215.6 million, are critical to the successful implementation of the Master Plan.
The project was carried out by the College of Innovation Thammasat University under the TA 8136 :