From July 1, the government will begin offering online registration for the tourism industry. Hotels, tour companies, guides and tourist transportation businesses can obtain an e-licence, which the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism hopes will expedite approvals and encourage prospective entrants to the fast-growing industry.
“It will support applicants to get [a licence] faster and more easily within a short time, which is the main intention of e-government. We will try to issue tourism information cards for tourists as well,” said U Thint Thwin, director general of the ministry.
The tourism information cards would provide visitors with data about Myanmar’s tourism industry such as airline schedules, bus options and other modes of transportation, as well as a list of restaurants and other advice, he said. The ministry is still collecting data for the card.
“We are also negotiating with communications experts from MPT, Ooredoo, Telenor and Vietnam’s Viettel to provide the system electronically,” he added.
Currently, the hotels and tourism ministry issues four kinds of licences: A hotel licence costs between K200,000 (US$170) and K1.9 million, depending on the number of rooms; a tour company licence runs K400,000; a tour guide licence goes for K50,000; and a licence to provide transportation for tourists costs between K50,000 and K500,000 depending on the vehicle, according to information provided by the ministry.
Licence holders must reapply every two years, said U Myo Win Nyunt, director of the ministry.
Tour operators have reacted positively to the announcement of the e-licence scheme.
“The e-licence will reduce tax corruption and the application process will be more convenient and easy. It will increase the number of new tourism companies,” U Aung Cho Win, director of the Marcopolo Travels & Tours company, told The Myanmar Times.
In previous years, tourism entrepreneurs applying for permits have had to go to the ministry’s offices in Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw, a costly and sometimes laborious hurdle, said U Zaw Win Cho, former chair of the Bagan Guide Association.
“If we can apply for a licence online, that will save time and money. We’re happy about that,” he said.
Nationwide, as of May, the hotels and tourism ministry had issued 1351 licences for hotels, 2130 for tour companies, 6309 for tour guides and 536 for tourists’ transportation vehicles.
Foreign arrivals to Myanmar have grown dramatically since the former junta ceded power in 2011. That year, the country clocked just 800,000 arrivals. Last year the number reached nearly 4.7 million, though some argue that many of those arrivals are not conventional tourists but rather businesspeople or Thais making only short trips across the two countries’ shared border.
By Ei Ei Thu | Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Credit : Myanmar Times