A handful of tourism projects around Myanmar are seeking to deliver real benefits to host communities, but national-level policies and regulations act as a barrier to entry for smaller operators, according to Jakob Krembzow writing for Frontier.
QUESTION: Which tourism destination is already fully booked for the whole of next year? It’s not Bagan, with its thousands of temples. And it’s not Inle Lake, with its unique leg-rowing fishermen.
Not many would have identified four humble villages in Myaing Township, Magway Region. But a community-based tourism project initiated by ActionAid Myanmar has transformed this sleepy area of the dry zone into a highly rated stop on Myanmar’s tourist trail.
Mr Lee Sheridan, general manager of Journeys Adventure Travel, said his company plans to send about 1000 guests to the four communities in Myaing throughout the coming year. A project to help develop the villages was initially launched by ActionAid, a British NGO, several years ago, and Journeys Adventure Travel came on board in 2015 help develop the tourism component of the program.
Community-based tourism encompasses several aims. It should be inclusive, delivering some of the revenues to residents in the area where the tourism activity takes place. But it also tries to the create something Sheridan describes as “experience-rich travel” – providing a unique, memorable experience for tourists.