Tourism min­istry to cut ad­min charges in half to spur growth

The Myanmar Times - - Business - KYAW KO KO kyawkoko@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

THE Min­istry of Ho­tels and Tourism is cut­ting ad­min­is­tra­tive charges it levies on op­er­a­tors of tourism-re­lated busi­ness in half, in or­der to pro­mote more for­eign in­vest­ment into the sec­tor and more for­eign vis­i­tors to Myan­mar.

A list of up­dated ad­min­is­tra­tive costs will be re­leased on Oc­to­ber 1, af­fect­ing op­er­a­tors of ho­tels and guest houses, tour com­pa­nies, tourism-re­lated trans­porta­tion ser­vices and tour guides, U San Yu, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor at the tourism min­istry in Man­dalay told The Myan­mar Times. The cost of a host of busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties - in­clud­ing re­new­ing a li­cence, al­ter­ing the name of busi­ness or mov­ing lo­ca­tion - will be cut by 50 per­cent, he added.

The in­ten­tion is to help draw more for­eign vis­i­tors to Myan­mar by al­low­ing the tourism sec­tor to ex­pand and pro­vide more ser­vices, he said. “There were a lot of re­duc­tions [in ad­min­is­tra­tive charges] in pre­vi­ous years, but there is still not [enough] for­eign in­vest­ment in travel op­er­a­tions,” he said.

Myan­mar’s tourism min­istry has also made it eas­ier for travel busi­nesses to re­ceive a li­cence by al­low­ing on­line ap­pli­ca­tions since July 1. But lower charges are un­likely to pla­cate con­cerned tourism en­trepreneurs ask­ing the gov­ern­ment for a more favourable busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. Tour guides, for ex­am­ple, are fac­ing com­pe­ti­tion from un­li­censed op­er­a­tors that do not face the same tax treat­ment or li­cence pay­ments, U Ye Myat Tun, chair of the Man­dalay Tour Guide As­so­ci­a­tion, told The Myan­mar Times.

“It is good to cut the charges by 50pc and that will help us de­velop travel op­er­a­tions,” he said. “But tour guides like us still have to pay a high rate of tax, and we need rel­e­vant de­part­ments to help ban il­le­gal tour guides from op­er­at­ing.”

The tourism min­istry in Man­dalay has granted li­cences to 1279 tour guide op­er­a­tions, 115 travel com­pa­nies and 183 ho­tels, ac­cord­ing to min­istry data.

‘There is still not [enough] for­eign in­vest­ment in travel op­er­a­tions.’

U San Yu Tourism min­istry

Photo: EPA

A monk walks through a field near a tem­ple in Ba­gan, one of Myan­mar’s most pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tions.

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