Myanmar Rewrds Responsible Tourism Companies

Myanmar, sustainability, Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute

Inle Lake in Myanmar (photo: wikimedia commons)

The 3rd Myanmar Responsible Tourism Awards was held to identify and celebrate Myanmar’s most forward-thinking and innovative tourism businesses at PARKROYAL Yangon on 6 December.

The annual event, organised by the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute (MRTI), recognised companies and stakeholders in nine categories – an increase from the last year’s seven.

The first award was Best Practice in Child-safe Tourism and went to Yangon Excelsior. “Since we open our hotel, we have been careful not to hire any underage employees. Also, we have told our receptionists to check if the guests are coming with young people to make sure there’s no prostitution. This is part of the training our staff receives,” said Philippe Arnaud, general manager of the 5-star hotel.

Tourism is no doubt a business that can give many job opportunities – sometimes even called the “smokeless” industry. Zaw Min Oo, well-known as Jack, had highlighted this importance at the interview after receiving the award for Best Responsible Community Involvement in Tourism.

“I’m running Green Season Travel since 2017. Our package is called Beyond Yangon Public Transport. The tour is about sightseeing and exploring the locals’ livelihoods in rural areas. We buy homemade products and use trains, tuk-tuks (rickshaw) and boats. So, the local people can make money from our tours.”

Jack has 15 years of experience in tourism and has been a freelance tour guide, tour operator and now company owner.

In an effort to curtail the waste from tourism, Thant Myanmar, one of the loudest voices among the country’s environmentalist groups, was awarded Best Responsible Awareness Raising Project.

May Thet Htwe, director of the organisation, said: “As you know, the plastic has become a global problem. We started our project to find ways to deal with this challenge. Our campaign ‘Need that plastic bag?’ urges people to think twice before asking for single-use plastic bags whenever they buy something. I think it is received well.”

According to the organisation’s findings, Myanmar people consume 80 million plastic bags every day and 55 per cent of 12,000 tonnes of the garbage collected daily is plastic.

The MRTI is a non-profit organisation aiming to support responsible tourism development in Myanmar through knowledge sharing, training, and research. An independent panel of judges reviews the applications and findings from the on-site assessments to decide on the winner for each category.

Here is the complete list of winners and runner-ups:

1. Best Practice in Child-safe Tourism
Winner: Hotel Excelsior Yangon
Runner-up:  Novotel Hotel Yangon Max

2. Best Responsible Start-Up in Tourism
Winner: Sa Ba Street Food Tours Yangon
Runner-up:  My Apex Travels & Tours

3. Best Practice in Carbon Footprint Reduction in Tourism
Winner: Laguna Lodge Eco Resort Ngapali
Runner-Up: Amazing Bagan Resort

4. Best Responsible Community Involvement in Tourism
Winner: Green Season Travel
Runner-up:  Travel with Me

5. Best Responsible Innovative Product Development
Winner: Babylon Trekking and Camping
Runner-up: Lotus Garden

6. Best Responsible Tourism Awareness Raising Project
Winner: Thant Myanmar
Runner-up: Lilli’s Beach Front Bar & Laguna lodge ECO Hotel

7. Best Responsible Tour Operator
Winner: Sampan Travel
Runner-up: Pro Niti Travel

8.  Best Responsible Tourism Accommodation (Small)
Winner: The Hotel – Kalaw Hill Lodge
Runner-up: Wa Ale Resort

9.  Best Responsible Tourism Accommodation (Large)
Winner: Thingaha Hotel, Naypyitaw
Runner-up: Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort

(Source: MRTI)