Saturday, June 9, 2012
Myanmar president U Thein Sein has confirmed the country will initiate the process of restoring its membership of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Officials in the country argue the destination is unique in that it can offer a relatively untouched, authentic experience that few countries around the world can still truly deliver.
“Tourism is a major sector of the economy not only for Myanmar but also for all countries around the world. It brings benefits to a country, boosts its economy and create employment opportunities,” said President Sein.
“We therefore request that our membership of UNWTO be restored so that we can obtain the relevant knowledge to further promote and develop our tourism sector.”
Meeting with Sein, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai assured him that UNWTO stood ready to support Myanmar in taking full advantage of its “tremendous tourism potential”.
“Myanmar is a country abundant in natural and cultural resources, the foundation of any tourism sector,” said Rifai.
“Following talks with the Minister of Hotels, Tourism and Sport, U Tint San, UNWTO will lend its expertise in a number of areas, ranging from capacity-building to sustainable tourism practices and travel facilitation, to responsibly develop tourism for the benefit of all.”
According to long-term forecast from the UNWTO, Tourism Towards 2030, international tourist arrivals to Asia and the Pacific will increase from 204 million in 2010 to 535 million in 2030.
South Asia will be the fastest growing sub-region in the world, growing six per cent a year.
“Asia and the Pacific is the future powerhouse of global tourism and Myanmar is in a strategic position to receive a significant share of these arrivals,” said Rifai.