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Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung im Web 2.0

Hanns Seidel Foundation Myanmar

Hanns Seidel Foundation Myanmar
Unit 7, Inya Lake Hotel
37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel.: +95-1-667225 | Fax: +95-1-667454
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HSF.Myanmar
E-Mail: myanmar@hss.de

Regional Community Tourism Development Forum in Kalaw

Participants joining Day I of the Regional Community Tourism Development Forum in Kalaw. It was jointly organized by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute and the Hanns Seidel Foundation Myanmar. It focused on both villagers from the surrounding of Kalaw on Day I as well as business owners on Day II

On the 10th and the 11th of October, more than 150 people on Day I and around 120 on Day II participated at the Regional Community Tourism Development Forum in Kalaw, jointly organized by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MoHT), the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Myanmar, Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute (MRTI) and Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB). The first of the 2 days lasting Forum focused on the villagers from the surrounding area of Kalaw, whereas the second day on business owners as target groups.

Daw Pyone Kathy Naing, Member of Parliament Lower House (Pyithu Hluttaw), Kalaw Constituency opened the forum by emphasising on the great opportunities that tourism can bring to communities. “This first forum is also there to answer questions and concerns from the local population and villagers from the surrounding,” she said.

Mr. Achim Munz, Country Representative of HSF delivering ‘Welcoming Remarks’. In his introductory notes he highlighted the impact of domestic tourism in Myanmar and the increasing number of those tourists contributing to an emerging tourism destination in Kalaw.

U Htin Aung Naing, Director of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Shan State stressed the great potential of Kalaw in particular- the colonial buildings, pagodas, caves in combination with the good climate makes it a very attractive destination. He urged: “Let’s think together how we can develop sustainable tourism in Kalaw”. While it is important to reach out to international travelers, Achim Munz, Country Representative of HSF Myanmar also remembered, that the domestic tourists are the backbone of the tourism industry and this market is growing significantly in the past years. In order to also increase the beneficiaries of tourism, U Nyunt Win Naing, Chairman of MRTI motivated everyone to create new tourism activities to attract more tourists.

During the day the participants learned about tourism in communities and different existing tourism projects from the region. In the afternoon, in group work sessions and active discussions, people raised their concerns and questions.

Group Work Session on the topic: Current biggest Challenges and Opportunities. In the afterward the groups presented their respective outcome.

A villager remarked that he would like to let foreigners stay at his home overnight. However, he knew that this is not permitted by law at present. To increase his income, offering overnight stays would help, he further said.

Questioning the participants in a secret voting session about the main obstacle to develop tourism in villages around Kalaw, was answered by “lack of skills” (43%) and “lack of finance” (23%). This was then also stressed by Paolo Felice, Manager of the Italian restaurant “Red House” on Day II when he urged to also work on human resource development in Kalaw. He mentioned that it is very difficult to find skilled labour.

U Htin Aung Naing, Director of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Shan State sees peace and stability as key determinants for substantially growing number of tourists in Myanmar

The second day of the forum focused on business owners. The participants hereby discussed future scenarios as well as opportunities and challenges for the tourism development in Kalaw. Daw Pyone Kathy Naing stressed the fact that new tourism products should be developed to increase the length of stay of visitors. Visitors who stay for longer in Kalaw would help the community to develop. Followed by U Htin Aung Naing who points out that also the country as a whole has to strive for stability and peace. Only then tourism can substantially develop at all.

Generally, participants agreed that there should be more cooperation among the tourism stakeholders in Kalaw. Currently there is too little exchange among them. Kyaw Soe Han, Director of the Kalaw Tourism Organization emphasized this aspect when he said that all should work together to strive further.

Daw Pyone Kathy Naing, Member of Parliament Lower House (Pyithu Hluttaw), Kalaw Constituency points out the benefits for local communities that tourism can bring. She said the Regional Community Tourism Development Forum is also a platform to answer the questions and concerns of the villagers, local people and business owners from Kalaw and surrounding.

The event also gave the opportunity to present new developments. Marlo Perry showed the success story of the MyWorld Kalaw Trail Run which brings runners to the beautiful hills of Kalaw. The next run takes place in December and the township as well as the runners are starting to prepare for that event.

Mike Haynes, Senior Advisor at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and PEM- Consult gave a Keynote Speech on “Responsible Investments”. Undoubtedly, Kalaw as an emerging destination is attracting tourists. The community listened carefully to his speech that picked up the issues of the influences of tourism and referred to Kalaw in particular.

In the afternoon a Panel Discussion on “How to work together as a community” with panelists from the Forest Department, the General Administration, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the Kalaw Hotel Association, the Township Municipal Office and the Kalaw Tour Guide Association showed that in Kalaw many people are working, thus improving Kalaw as a tourism destination already. However, everyone agreed upon a strengthening in the cooperation between the different stakeholders that will be of avail of the colonial town.

A participant of the Pa-O minority is listening to the panelists.

Kalaw is an unique tourism destination in Myanmar, as a former hill station it has heritage buildings next to a beautiful mountain landscape and we are hopeful that in the future the villages in the surrounding can benefit more from tourism development.

We thank our partners, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute, the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business and all the participants for energetic days of the Regional Community Tourism Development Forum in Kalaw!