An organisation committed to developing responsible tourism in Myanmar has been launched. The Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute is a new non-profit initiative aiming to support responsible tourism development in Myanmar through knowledge sharing, training and research.
Currently MRTI is comprised of a Board of Directors – U Nyunt Win Naing (Ko Nyunt), Daw Naw Htwe Htwe Hla (Rachael), U Aung Kyaw Swar and U Kyaw Shinn Thant; and an Advisory Board, Daw Nwe Mar Myint (Programme Coordinator), Dr. Nicole Haeusler, Michael Haynes, Celine Margontier-Haynes and Marlo Perry.
Last year, the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business published a sector-wide impact assessment on tourism that drew attention to some of the positive and negative impacts tourism could have on the recently opened-up country.
“I know from 25 years of travelling in Myanmar that it has so many ecological and cultural assets, both tangible and intangible,” saidMCRB Director, Vicky Bowman, when launching the report in 2015. “Myanmar people have told us they attach a high priority to protecting this environmental and cultural wealth. The country is lucky to still have choices. It can, of course, try to compete with Bali and Thailand to attract mass tourism. But if it does, it risks destroying the things that make its destinations different. Alternatively, Myanmar can harness tourism in support of the protection of its diverse cultures and ecosystems. Those choices need to be made on the basis of participatory discussions at the local and national level.”