After delay, tourism bank eyes May launch
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.”