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The Union of Myanmar Travel Association - Case Study

Research reports

Written by Claudia Pompa

​Myanmar has emerged as a hot tourist destination, experiencing rapid growth in tourism demand. In 2010, Myanmar had the lowest number of tourist arrivals of any Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) country at just 310,000, compared to 1.2 million tourists in Laos and 15 million tourists in Thailand. Since then, numbers have been rapidly increasing. Between 2011 and 2012, tourist arrivals in Myanmar increased by 29.7%, and in 2012 surpassed the 1 million mark for the first time.

Myanmar has the potential to attract 26 million tourists a year just as Thailand did in 2013, but in order for this to happen, major investments are needed in the industry. Key shortcomings are in infrastructure, bed capacity and human resources development. At present, the country’s tourism workforce is struggling to provide services that meet international expectations. There are many reasons for this, including the low rate at which new entrants to the sector can be trained, as well as deficiencies in the quality of training, the qualifications of academic staff, and the skills relevant to the needs of the private sector.

This case study identifies ways for the Union of Myanmar Travel Association (UMTA) to improve the quantity and quality of workforce skills in the tourism sector, both independently and through collaboration with other stakeholders.

Claudia Pompa and Jared Bissinger