Staying ready to receive tourists in Myanmar post COVID-19

15 April 2020
ITC News

Small businesses associated with tourism in southern Shan state are preparing to receive guests soon. Find out how they are catching up on the latest.

For more than a month now, tourists are nowhere to be seen, severely affecting everyone dependent on tourism in southern Shan state of Myanmar.

In an effort to reduce the pain of the COVID-19 crisis, the International Trade Centre (ITC) team promoting inclusive tourism in Southern Shan State immediately began identifying ways to connect effectively and efficiently with around 100 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that it works with in the area.

Prominent actors in the tourism ecosystem, most of these businesses provide village or agro-tourism tours, run hotels or guesthouses, operate small cafes, handicraft shops and provide tour transport.

Since 80% of them rely on internet and online platforms for advertising their services to customers, there was an opportunity in social media for sharing latest information and recommendations on the way forward.

A Facebook post now goes out regularly with practical tips customized to tourism MSMEs in Shan State.
These tips will meet the critical need of staying connected with current and potential clients. By sharing engaging content such as information updates, latest statistics and videos, these social media posts encourage tourism businesses to produce innovative content, such as virtual tours of scenic destinations in the area.

These posts also share information about online training and advice on various strategies for recovery. To follow, please visit Myanmar Inclusive Tourism ITC, a Facebook group that since 2015 engages approximately more than 11,000 followers mainly from tourism stakeholders in the country.

These engagements on social media are maintaining close contact and assessing business response not only with those operating in Shan State but also with tourism MSMEs in other parts of Myanmar.

Upgrading horticulture supply and sustainable tourism to develop business linkages, is a project that aims at improving the economic situation in the Inle Lake / Southern Shan State area in Myanmar. Funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), it is implemented by a cluster of UN agencies including ITC, UNCTAD, ILO and UNIDO – with a trust fund managed by UNOPS.