Q&A session with Mr Htay Aung – Myanmar Minister of Tourism

An exclusive interview with the honourable Mr Htay Aung, Myanmar Minister of Tourism conducted by the Mingalapar Team on the 5th of August 2013.


Mingalapar : Where is Myanmar tourism sector at this moment?

MoT : We are on the rise in terms of arrival and growth. In 2013, we expect at least 1.5 million arrivals will be visiting.


Mingalapar : What are the drawbacks that your country is currently facing and might repel the new comers to visit Myanmar?

Mot : Infrastructure and Human Resource Development are main constraints for its development. The Government and private sector are trying to fulfill the needs of the tourists.


Mingalapar : Since it may be an obstacle for certain visitors, what are the plans to facilitate the process of obtaining a visa? Is it in your idea to provide visa on arrivals to tourists to have a multiple destination visa with some of your ASEAN partners?

Mot : For the package tours, visa on arrival is permitted through licensed tour companies. E –visa system will be materialized in next three/ four months. A single visa for ASEAN Nationals is still discussing at the ASEAN Meeting among relevant departments of the member countries. I hope that we can ignite the engine in 2015.


Mingalapar : What would be your main tourist target, geographically and what type of travels?

MoT : By nature, tourists from neighbours especially Thailand and China are the major market segments and the type is various.


Mingalapar : Tourism play or have played an important role in the economic development of neighboring countries. What kind of role will it play in the development of Myanmar and what importance will it have for the whole Burmese economy?

Mot : Meanwhile, tourism is in the third priority after agriculture and manufacturing. Moreover, the role of tourism will be prioritized in the near future because it is important to the over all development of the country relating to job opportunity, social well being, poverty reduction and environment.


Mingalapar : So how does your office plan to compete with your neighbouring countries and what is your competitive advantage?

Mot : We have drawn the Tourism Master Plan which covers long term, mid term and short term plans to develop Myanmar on the tourism map of the world. Though Myanmar has similar characteristics with our neighbors, snow capped mountain in the far north, colorful national races, significant cultural heritage, religion and friendly people are very unique and can be positioning.


Mingalapar : Where do you see Myanmar tourism in 10 years and how to cope with your expectations?

Mot : We can compete with other developed countries in the region. For this, we have to work hard.


Mingalapar : What Burmese food would be your favorite recommendation for the international first time travelers?

MoT : Myanmar food is varies and very acceptable for visitors in which Mon- Hin- Gha is a favorite soup for breakfast. Appetizers, meals and desserts are also tasteful for them


Mingalapar : What would be for you the best souvenir from Myanmar to bring home for a foreign visitor?

MoT : Lacquerware Products.


Mingalapar : Thank you for your kind answers, to finish this interview, what do you want to say to our international readers to encourage them to come to Myanmar?

MoT : Wanderlust Travel Magazine mentioned Myanmar as one of the best destinations in the world in 2013. Please come and see.


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