Htay Aung, Myanmar’s minister of hotel and tourism, said: “Myanmar tourism is mainly based on natural and cultural attractions. But now the market has turned and Myanmar is a destination not only for holidays but also for business.”
In a likely boost to Naypyidaw’s MICE scene, Myanmar’s largest private business federation, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, signed an agreement with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in August.
Both sides agreed to collaborate on improving and expanding tourism, trade promotion and the development of the MICE industry.
“More business traders and tourists are travelling to cities in Myanmar using Thailand as a gateway. This is an opportunity for us to support Myanmar’s booming tourism sector, and to leverage the trade and travel between the two countries,” said Puripan Bunnag, director, domestic MICE department, TCEB.
Htay Aung said that the ministry intends to promote MICE especially in Naypyidaw, where there is “strong infrastructure” such as international standard convention centres and hotels.
“Another factor is that Myanmar is the current chair of ASEAN and many meetings are being held in Naypyidaw. (We are preparing for the) ASEAN Tourism Forum in January 2015 and expecting 2,000 participants,” Htay Aung added.
He said that his ministry is also in talks with the relevant authorities to relax regulations at Naypyidaw airport to support arrivals growth.
Currently, the only two international airlines flying to Naypyidaw are China Eastern Airlines and Bangkok Airways.
Naypyidaw received 10,565 air arrivals in 2013, and 12,272 between January and August this year, growing 25 per cent year-on-year.