Vice President of Myanmar visits ITC project in Kayah state (en)

2 November 2016
ITC Nouvelles

An International Trade Centre inclusive tourism project in Myanmar’s Kayah state figured on the itinerary of the country’s new Vice President, U Henry Van Thio, on his first official visit to the region earlier this month.

Hta Nee La Leh, a village where ITC is supporting the development of socially inclusive tourism, was one of two sites chosen by the Kayah state government for the vice-presidential visit.

During the 4 October visit by Vice President U Henry Van Thio and his delegation of ministers and senior officials from the central and state governments, residents of the village, supported by the ITC local team, presented Hta Nee La Leh’s cultural attractions, the project’s activities and explained how post-project sustainability is being addressed through a Training of Trainers (ToT) approach.

As part of the inclusive tourism project in Myanmar, which is among the portfolio of interventions supported by the Dutch government through the Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III), ITC has conducted training in areas such as food quality and hygiene, trekking and jungle lunch services. Since the beginning of the project, international tourist arrivals to Kayah state have increased from 2,600 in 2014 to an estimated 6,300 for 2016.

ITC supported the creation and management of a community fund that receives 10% of tourism revenues. The “Hta Nee La Leh tourism club” now conducts cultural walking tours around the village, bringing tourists to homes and teaching visitors local crafts such as wine making, weaving, and bracelet making.

The delegation expressed satisfaction with the increase in tourist arrivals to the village and the resulting income gains for local guides, food providers, craft producers and local artists. A Project Steering Committee meeting took place in Nay Pyi Taw later that week, at which participants reviewed progress and discussed plans for the project’s next phase, which will start in August 2017.

At the previous such gathering, in April, the Minister of Hotels and Tourism and the Minister of Commerce had requested ITC and the project’s funder, the Dutch government, to replicate its tourism value chain approach in a second state.

This month, Aung Soe, Director General, Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization, Ministry of Commerce highlighted the “need to apply the NTF III success story to other states. All tourism stakeholders will need to participate in the selection of the new state. ITC has extensive experience to implement such a project”.

The NTF III Myanmar Inclusive Tourism Project will run through July 2017.