Af­ter de­lay, tourism bank eyes May launch

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI EI THU eiei­thu@mm­times.com

THE open­ing of the Myan­mar Tourism Fed­er­a­tion’s much-touted bank has been post­poned, with the in­tended Oc­to­ber launch date not met.

The Myan­mar Tourism Fed­er­a­tion says it now hopes to open its bank by May next year, with chair U Yan Win at­tribut­ing the de­lay to a hold-up over le­gal back­ground checks by the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice.

The bank is de­signed to pro­mote the Myan­mar tourist in­dus­try by help­ing small and medium travel agen­cies com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally. As an ini­tial con­tri­bu­tion, 26 mem­bers of the fed­er­a­tion are to put up K20 bil­lion, with oth­ers to con­trib­ute a fur­ther K100 bil­lion in due course, said U Yan Win. The 26 mem­bers are from 11 sep­a­rate as­so­ci­a­tions that make up the fed­er­a­tion.

“We will get the li­cence soon, af­ter the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice has com­pleted its checks,” he told The Myan­mar Times on Novem­ber 24. “The Cen­tral Bank has al­ready in­ves­ti­gated our mem­bers’ back­grounds: They were clear from black money and paid their taxes. It took one year to com­plete [the Cen­tral Bank check].”

The fed­er­a­tion in­tends to open three branches si­mul­ta­ne­ously, one each in Yan­gon, Nay Pyi Taw and Man­dalay, once the li­cence is ap­proved.

“We’ve al­ready se­cured the build­ings and the staff. All we need is the li­cence,” he said.

The bank is meant to pro­vide financial sup­port to the tourism in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly small- and medi­um­sized agen­cies in the fed­er­a­tion.

“We know the re­quire­ments of each travel op­er­a­tor work­ing in the tourist in­dus­try and will be able to of­fer sup­port. We will also be able to help re­lated sec­tors,” said U Yan Win.

In an in­ter­view ear­lier this year, U Thet Lwin Toh, chair of the Union of Myan­mar Travel As­so­ci­a­tion, said, “The bank will be able to of­fer low-in­ter­est loans and help with travel in­sur­ance. Myan­mar has more than 2000 travel com­pa­nies and about 1400 ho­tels. The loans will help them com­pete with global tour op­er­a­tors when they come to Myan­mar as joint ven­ture com­pa­nies.”

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