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Tourism, hotel conference planned for February

Hotel-in-Rangoon-s
Burma will hold a Hospitality and Tourism Conference from Feb. 26-28 in 2013 aimed at promoting the tourism industry of the country,

Burma will hold a Hospitality and Tourism Conference from Feb. 26-28 in 2013 aimed at promoting the tourism industry of the country, industry sources said.

A hotel in Rangoon.  Photo: Mizzima
The conference, jointly organized by the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) and Sphere Conferences of Singapore, will mainly focus on investment opportunities in the hotel and tourism services sectors, said organizers. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the two organizers.
 
Chua Wee Phong, the chairman of Sphere Conferences of Singapore, offered to provide expertise and financial services through Singapore businesses to Burma, saying that foreign investors are especially interested in the hotel and tourism industries. Chua said the Sphere Conference will arrange to hold banking, industrial and other development seminars in the country in the near future.
 
According to official statistics of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the number of tourist arrivals totaled over 800,000 in 2011, up more than 24,000 or 3 per cent from over 790,000 in the same period of 2010.

Mizzima reported last week that a Burmese tourism industry master plan is being drafted with the technical assistance of the German-based Hanns Seidal Foundation, with support from the Norwegian government and the Asian Development Bank.

Burma sees the tourism sector as a quick means to earn badly needed capital from international travelers eager to experience the country's cultural and natural heritage.

A main focus of the plan will be to expand tourism infrastructure and quality of services as quickly as possible. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has organized tourism development workshops in key tourist destination areas to discuss current and future challenges.

Recently, Vice President Sai Mauk Kham said that sector needs everything from experienced tour guides to more hotel rooms.

The arrivals for the last eight months of 2012 was 340,458 by air, up 40 per cent compared with the same period of 2011.

Burma rejoined the UN World Tourism Organization in June this year, which promised to support Burma in taking full advantage of its tourist potential.

On August 22, Mizzima reported that Burma would build 19 hotels in Naypyitaw, the capital, in anticipation of the upcoming 27th Southeast Asian Games set for the end of 2013.

Vietnan and France are set to become major hotel investors in Rangoon, according to reports. Indian companies are also looking at hotel investments, officials said.

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