U Hlaing Oo, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism gave the opening remark at the forum. He discussed the importance of sustainable practices for the hotels and tourism sectors, and highlighted that tourism is a driver for job creation which provides long-term benefits to both the private sector and local communities. He also encouraged participants to consider the discussions held over the two days, and to start implementing sustainable tourism practices in Myanmar.
Giacomo Solari, Acting Head of Mission for the Embassy of Switzerland in Myanmar, and Samuel Bon, Chief Executive Officer of Swisscontact, also gave opening remarks at the forum. Representatives from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, along with those from Yangon’s township administration committees, hoteliers, hospitality companies, and travel agents, among others.
The objective of the event was to share knowledge and gain a better understanding of the importance of sustainability in tourism. More specifically, the event was meant to help key tourism stakeholders understand the importance of being sustainable, and communicating the benefits of sustainability practices to staff and customers. The event also facilitated networking for tourism sector companies, and will hopefully contribute to the adoption of sustainable operational practices in tourism and hospitality organisations nationwide.
This is the second forum on Sustainability in Tourism & Hospitality. Swisscontact, MRTI and GSTC organised the first forum on the 29th and 30th of March 2017 in Yangon, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The first forum was successful in establishing a common concept on what sustainability in tourism and hospitality means, and in kick-starting some initiatives at selected organisations to address the issue in a practical way.
The Vocational Skills Development Program (VSDP) is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It is implemented in Myanmar by a consortium led by Swisscontact (the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation), which includes the German company INBAS (Institute for Vocational Training, Labour Market and Social Policy).