Yangon river cruise ships flounder after losing bid for jetty

Yangon cruise liner, the RV King Whale has ceased operations after failing to obtain a separate jetty for its cruise ship as well as increasing expenditure and a dearth of passengers.

“All we wanted was a favour from the government to get a separate jetty for river cruise liners without having to share with cargo ships,” U Htun Zaw Win, managing director of RV King Whale, Yangon river cruise company told The Myanmar Times.

“So we stopped all schedules in 2015. If we continue, we would lose business when maintenance costs increase,” he said.

RV King Whale river cruise was operating in 2012 at the Botahtaung jetty, they then moved to Wardan jetty for a while and then back to Botahtaung again within four years.

“At that time, they were not only operating river cruise tours but also running ships for local people from Yangon to Higyi Kyun island, Bogalay, Ma-ubin and so on,” he said.

Two other river cruise ships, the Royal Green River and Dora were also competitors at the time. The two are still operating as sunset river cruises along the Yangon River.

Almost all river cruise liners suspend operation during the rainy season from late June to the end of August due to weather conditions.

The river cruise market is becoming popular among Yangon residents because they like to celebrate their birthday, wedding, farewell and cruise parties on river cruises Ma Su Su, a staff member of Yangon Rhythm cruise told The Myanmar Times.

“We were struggling with the sunset river cruise with a few visitors initially then customers began to increase annually, most of them local especially during significant religious celebrations we would run three times a day. We also focused on the foreign market,” she said.

The Yangon Rhythm cruise is able to take at most 150 passengers which may be the cheapest cruise in town because they charge K6000 per local and US$10 (K13,636) per foreigner for one hour’s ride from Monday to Thursday evening. In term of a common jetty, it very often troublesome for passengers on the cruise ship when a cargo ship is docking, Daw Thida Tun, operation manager of Royal Green River cruise told The Myanmar Times.

“The local people and foreign visitors will have more safety and convenience if the government can allocate a jetty dedicated to river cruise ships like in Bangkok. Also we hope to create more tourist attractions along the river and increase river cruise tourism,” she said.

“We would like to re-start the RV King Whale cruise if facilities get better in future,” U Htun Zaw Win said.

Source : Myanmar Times