News / Asia

Burma Unveils 'Master Plan' to Boost Tourism

Tourists look at jade and gems in a shop at Aung San market in Rangoon, Burma, April 18, 2013.
Tourists look at jade and gems in a shop at Aung San market in Rangoon, Burma, April 18, 2013.
VOA News
Burma's government has unveiled a new "master plan" for its growing tourism industry, in the hopes of attracting more foreign visitors to the rapidly changing country.

Foreigners have already begun flocking to the once-isolated Southeast Asian nation, which has made a series of unexpected political and economic changes since its military leaders handed power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.

Government officials hope the new tourism plan can carry on that momentum and help improve Burma's tattered economy, which has suffered from years of mismanagement and international sanctions.

The new plan, funded by the Norwegian government, outlines nearly $500 million worth of development projects. It includes expansions to airports in Mandalay and Naypyidaw, infrastructure improvements in and around key tourism sites, and the fast-tracking of hotels.

In a statement Wednesday, the Asian Development Bank says the new strategy can help tourism become a pillar of Burma's economy and has the potential to create meaningful job opportunities.

But the ADB, which helped the government release the plan, said this is contingent on Burma continuing to implement "economic, political and social reforms," something many activists warn is not guaranteed.

The ADB said current forecasts predict as many as 7.5 million tourists could visit Burma each year by 2020, a figure that is seven times the current amount. It said this could provide up to 1.4 million jobs.

But there are concerns the spike in tourism could take a toll on the environment. Some say Burma's natural landscape is already changing because of rapid, unregulated development, and that many of those profiting from tourism are exploiting the local culture.

Hotels and Tourism Minister Htay Aung said the government is aware of this, but insisted the new strategy will not threaten Burma's "unique cultural heritage" or "pristine environments."

The plan notes the need for new police divisions to help safeguard tourists and prevent child trafficking and sex tourism. It also suggests initiatives to help prepare Burma's many ethnic communities to handle an influx of visitors and maintain control over tourism in their communities.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid