Gov­ern­ment, think-tank sign eco­tourism pol­icy agree­ment

Mizzima Business Weekly - - BUSINESS // NEWS -

An en­vi­ron­men­tal think-tank based in Nepal is to work with the gov­ern­ment to de­velop an eco­tourism pol­icy and man­age­ment strat­egy for pro­tected ar­eas in Myan­mar, the or­gan­i­sa­tion said.

The In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for In­te­grated Moun­tain De­vel­op­ment signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the Min­istry of Ho­tels and Tourism in Nay Pyi Taw on Oc­to­ber 30, Kathmandu-based ICIMOD said in a news re­lease is­sued the next day.

“The pol­icy and strat­egy will help to cel­e­brate and pro­mote the nat­u­ral and cul­tural as­sets of Myan­mar’s unique pro­tected ar­eas, from Lampi Marine Na­tional Park in the south to the Hkak­ab­o­razi Na­tional Park in the north,” ICIMOD said.

“It will also pro­vide lo­cal peo­ple with al­ter­na­tive liveli­hood op­tions, out­side of the tra­di­tional con­sump­tive use of nat­u­ral re­sources,” it said.

The Min­is­ter of Ho­tels and Tourism, U Htay Aung – who wit­nessed the sign­ing of the MoU to­gether with the Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and Forestry, U Win Tin – wel­comed the agree­ment and the grow­ing part­ner­ship with ICIMOD, the re­lease said.

U Htay Aung said the key role of the eco­tourism pol­icy and man­age­ment strat­egy was to pro­mote qual­ity tourism that also en­gaged the com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in and around Myan­mar’s pro­tected ar­eas.

The re­lease said that well-man­aged pro­tected ar­eas were crit­i­cal for both bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion and ar­rest­ing cli­mate change.

“De­spite th­ese crit­i­cal roles, it is of­ten chal­leng­ing for gov­ern­ments to gen­er­ate an eco­nomic re­turn from th­ese ar­eas, or from wider gov­ern­ment rev­enues, to cover their con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment costs,” it said.

Eco­tourism was ca­pa­ble of con­tribut­ing to­wards such rev­enue, the re­lease said, adding that prod­uct vi­a­bil­ity de­pended on the con­ser­va­tion of the bio­di­ver­sity and the ecosys­tems that tourists come to visit.

ICIMOD’s di­rec­tor of strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion, Bas­an­tha Shrestha, said the suc­cess of the eco­tourism man­age­ment strat­egy would de­pend on the “seam­less in­te­gra­tion” of the poli­cies and work­ing prac­tices of the Min­istry of Ho­tels and Tourism and the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and Forestry.

“This MoU has been de­signed to help fa­cil­i­tate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment that would al­low this to hap­pen,” said Mr Shrestha.

Myan­mar is one of ICIMOD’s eight re­gional mem­ber coun­tries. [Mizzima]

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