A fresh start of the year and I am sure this is going to be a more positive year for the world-wide travel industry. Time for an update on what’s happening in Myanmar.
When the Myanmar Times ask me to write a column about travel trends for the coming year, I thought it was going to be a tricky one. After all, who dares to predict what will happen in a world that is changing so fast. Instead I did some research on what other publications worldwide predict to be the trend in travel in the coming year and give suggestions how to apply these worldwide trends on travelling in Myanmar. You can read all about it in this Myanmar Times article.
In the last newsletter we mentioned the launch of Exploration’s new virtual Bagan tours and we’re glad that we already had several bookings from the Netherlands and Germany and excellent feedback from clients. Thank you so much for all your support as this creates jobs for guides AND is an excellent way to get your clients excited about discovering new experiences and cultures again. Have a look at our short video on how the virtual Bagan tours work in practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhCHqxyyd-8
Interested to offer a virtual Bagan tour to your clients? Do send us an email!
The number of daily new infected Covid-19 cases is going down in Myanmar. For the last 3 weeks the number of new daily cases is around 400 (previously 3 months it was just under 1000) and the government has started to think about re-opening a bit more. Some of the temporary Covid-19 hospitals are being closed as there is no more need for them. Restaurants and bars in Yangon slowly start to offer dine-in service but the international airports are still closed. The government realizes that we have to continue living under a “new normal” with Covid-19 around and control the numbers (rather than aiming for zero cases as that is not realistic).A re-newed campaign has been launched (the yellow campaign) to focus on washing hands, wearing facemasks and keeping distance. Vaccinations will start in February - mostly with support from India and China.
Currently the international airports are closed till 31 January 2021 and it’s not sure yet when the government will decide to carefully re-open. For international tourism, I do expect that we will have some visitors in July & August and then really start again in October.
Our very own sustainable beach lodge just south of Ngapali beach opened in January last year for just 3 months and then had to close down due to Covid-19. I was at the lodge last month to prepare for re-opening and we have put all safety measures in place as recommended by the ministry of health and the ministry of hotel & tourism. An inspection team visited the lodge and last week we got approval to re-open the lodge. The concept is the same as when we opened: 9 spacious sea-view rooms, home-cooked Rakhine food, a hammock and beanbag station, activities including snorkeling, kayaking and boat trips and a great way to relax and contribute to the community. See short video here. For the moment we only have customers coming from Yangon by flight (they are subject to a fast Covid-19 test before flying).
In many parts of the world it is winter now; a good time to stock up to some new books. See here my personal Top 10 of books on Myanmar to read:
1. River of Lost Footsteps: Thant Myint U – written by the grandson of the former UN secretary general U Thant, a balanced version of recent Myanmar history.
2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats – Jan-Philipp Sendker – a fantastic novel, set in Kalaw about love and caring for each other.
3. My life as a Shan Princess by Inge Sargent – written by an Austrian lady who became a Shan princess living in Hsipaw, an interesting insight into Shan royal history.
4. Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig – an amazing story of a family during the most violent and turbulent years of Myanmar history.
5. Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Ma Thanegi, or as she calls it, “my prison book”, about the three years she spent in Insein Jail as a political prisoner; inspirational.
6. The King In Exile: The Fall Of The Royal Family Of Burma by Sudha Shah – a detailed description on live in exile in India of the last royal family of Myanmar.
7. Myanmar: Burma in Style: An Illustrated History and Guide by Caroline Courtauld. This is a great illustrated account of the history, politics and culture of the people and the country.
8. Children of the Revolution by Feroze Dada – a true story about a Burmese freedom fighter, a monk and 600 abandoned children.
9. A Burmese Heart by YMV Han and Tinsa Maw-Naing, about the history after WWII – mainly set in Yangon and focusing on those people that brought Myanmar into the modern era.
10. The Golden Parasol by Wendy Law – Yone – daughter of a newspaper publisher during the military coup in 1962.
I hope my email gives you inspiration for Myanmar articles or updates to share with your clients. As always; do let us know if you need updated programs, pictures, videos etc. so you can continue to communicate about Myanmar with your clients.
In case you missed the previous newsletters or simply want to have more graphics have a look at our website: https://exploration.travel/newsletters.
Managing Director Exploration Travel
Edwin Briels and his team have been creating experiences for travellers to Myanmar for over 20 years. After working for companies as Balloons over Bagan and most recently Khiri Travel, Edwin Briels continuously finds new paths to travel and experiences to show clients the story of Myanmar and engages you in a fascinating journey through this country with the most welcoming people you will ever meet.