Tour firms eye floods, Bangkok fallout
Peak tourism season is nearing, and insiders are cautiously watching current events for effects on foreign arrivals.
There has been extensive flooding through much of the country and a high-profile pair of bombing attacks in Bangkok that may hurt arrivals to Thailand, the largest gateway to Myanmar. Still, insiders say that even if foreign tourists are wary, there is plenty of time for in-bound tourism to improve ahead of the peak season.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism set a lofty target of 4.5 to 5 million arrivals this year, from 3 million arrivals in 2014. While insiders say the arrival figures are problematic, for instance also counting border day trips and business travel, the targeted increase in 2015 indicates general optimism over the travel and tourism sector’s potential.
The domestic tourism industry is largely geared toward the roughly October to March high season, when tourism numbers peak.
The twin concerns of the August 17 Bangkok bomb and the recent floods devastating much of the country may keep away foreigners, though it is too early to tell definitively, said Daw Sabei Aung, an official with Nature Dream travel and tourism.
Bangkok is the main route for tourists traveling to Myanmar from far destinations, such as Europe. As of the end of last week there were 10 different daily Yangon-Bangkok flights, more than the six daily Yangon-Singapore flights, which is the closest competitor.
“We can’t say we won’t be directly affected,” said Daw Sabei Aung. “Bangkok is the main gateway for tourists to come and visit.”
Thai media is reporting dropping numbers following the attack, though it had previously been a strong year for Thai tourism.
Thai Airways has seen about one in five passengers change travel plans in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, according to an August 19 Bangkok Post report.
By Ei Ei Thu | Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Credit : Myanmar Times
Oil and Gas Exploration to Expand This Year
Companies that won onshore and offshore oil and gas concessions during tenders in 2013 and 2014 will start exploration and drilling in late 2015 and early 2016, according to seminar on the outlook of Myanmar’s oil and gas sector development.
“The government has allowed 16 inland concessions and 20 offshore concessions in 2013 and 2014. Operations will start in these blocks either at the end of 2015 or at the start of 2016,” said Dr Aung Kyaw Htu, managing director from DARE Co Ltd, an oil and gas exploration firm.
With the operations set to gain momentum after 2015, local companies in the industry will have greater opportunities, while the entrance of major multinationals like Shell and Chevron will create a lot of job opportunities for local engineers and technicians, he said.
Companies that have won tenders for inland blocks in 2013 and 2014 are from India, Italy, Pakistan, Brunei, Malaysia, Canada, Luxembourg, Russia, Thailand and the UK.
Companies that won offshore concessions include Chevron, Shell Energy, Statoil, Eni, Total E&P, BG, Woodside Energy.
Currently major offshore oil and gas fields named Yadanar, Yetagun, Shwe and Zawtika are being operated by local and international companies.
In Yadanar gas field, the most productive among the four, Total is producing 830 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, of which 711 million goes to Thailand with the rest used for local consumption. The field was discovered in 1982 and gas production started in 1988.
Production in Shwe gas field located off the Rakhine coast started in 2014 with current production capacity of 399 million cubic feet of natural gas, of which 379 million is exported to China.
Myanmar produced an average daily amount of 1,200 million cubic feet of natural gas during 2004 to 2012 and the daily average was increased to 1,400 million cubic feet since 2013. The average has further increased to over 1,800 in 2015.
At present, Myanmar exports 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per month earning $170 million, with exports going primarily to Thailand and China. Proceedings from tax and export of the natural gas sector contribute up to 40 percent of Myanmar’s income, according to the Ministry of Energy.