Myanmar’s young tourism entrepreneurs

Since almost five decades of rule by a military junta came to an end in Myanmar (also known as Burma) in 2011, a growing number of tourists are choosing to visit the South East Asian nation.

From ancient cities, to dazzling Buddhist temples, and unspoilt beaches and countryside, it is easy to see the attraction of the country to international visitors.

This year an estimated three million travellers will visit Myanmar, according to the government’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

This is a 50% rise on the two million who entered the country in 2013, and triple the one million who visited in 2012.

After 49 years of international isolation, Myanmar’s tourism sector is having to work hard – and quickly – to meet the wants and needs of all the new overseas visitors.

With the country’s tourism industry still in such a nascent state, it means tremendous opportunities for young Burmese entrepreneurs.

And despite continuing problems in the country – such as sectarian violence between majority Rakhine Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims – most young businessmen and women in the tourism sector are very optimistic about the future.

Tourist licence
Min Than Htut is keen to explain why he called his tour company Pro Niti Travel.

“Professionalism is something many people in Myanmar have not yet had the chance to develop,” the 24-year-old says.

“So the ‘Pro’ part of the name comes from that. Niti is a Pali [a Buddhist language] word meaning ‘ethics’.”

Min first started to work in the tourism sector when, while studying for a qualification in chemistry, he got a job as a hotel bellboy.

He then went on to become an assistant at a travel agency, before deciding to set up on his own in Yangon (also known as Rangoon) a year ago.

To establish his own travel business Min first had to save up for, and then complete, a government accreditation course, which costs about $200 (£120).

Source: BBC

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