Tourism rules, regulations may be released this month: ministry
THE bylaws setting out rules and regulations for the tourism industry could be released this month, according to the Hotels and Tourism Ministry.
Under the bylaw, tourism businesses could directly apply to regional tourism committees instead of the ministry for licences.
After the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Lower House) passed the amended Myanmar Tourism Law in September last year, the ministry was tasked with drafting the bylaws in consultation with stakeholders.
Under the new law, there are licences for in-bound, outbound and domestic destination tour operators; for hotels; for guest houses and national and regional tour guides; and for tourism-related services.
The bylaws stipulate that those who want to operate guest houses can apply for a three-year licence from the regional tourism committee.
“Tourism is a business that could be held back by too much centralisation. That is why regions and states will issue licences under the new law,” U Tint Thwin, a retired director general of the ministry, said at a meeting to discuss the bylaw in Yangon last week.
Some business owners urged that entrance fees be charged at the country’s tourist attractions only in the Myanmar currency.
“Some sites charge entrance fees in other currencies due to the unstable exchange rate, which creates problems for tour operators. If all sites collect fees only in the Myanmar currency, it will help stabilise the exchange rate,” U Maung Maung, executive of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association, said.
Representatives of the Myanmar Tourist Guide Association urged that the bylaw allow only local guides to provide tour guide services, according to Daw Ei Thu Htut, secretary general of the group.
“We have seen a lot of group tours in the country led by foreign guides in the past several years. We want to protect our services with a clear mandate in the new law,” she said.
A foreigner stands outside the entrance counter of Botahtaung Pagoda in Yangon.