Since January 2014 the International Labor Organization (ILO) has implemented the SECO funded project “Supporting Tourism in Myanmar through Business Management training”. Following on from Phase 1, ILO carries out Phase 2 (2017-2021) of the Project on SME development in Myanmar supported by NORAD. In order to identify sensible development activities at local level and resources that could support their implementation, research into the domestic and international tourism value chains in Myanmar is considered vital. Tourism value chain assessments of this kind have been conducted in the two beach resorts Chaung Thar and Ngwe Saung (2014), in Bagan (2015), in Kyaing Tong (2015), in Myeik (2016), Mrauk-U (2017) and most recently a combined assessment of the two tourism destinations Mawlamyine and Hpa-An in January and February 2018.
The Myanmar Tourism Master Plan defines cultural and creative tourism as the typical forms of tourism relevant for Hpa-An. So far however, most tour operators have not yet included Hpa-An and other parts of Kayin State in their tours. Kayin State including the region around Hpa-An started enjoying a relative peace and stability recently. In the past, the potential for armed conflict has hampered developing the tourism potential of the State. Many areas in Kayin State are still today restricted for tourists. However, the prospect of a peaceful future will further boost tourism in the city and the State.
The tourism VCA has produced a comprehensive picture of challenges and opportunities local tourism SMEs and other tourism actors are facing in Hpa-An and helped identifying a first batch of 13 proposals for action that would address the kind of support tourism entrepreneurs would need to develop. The analysis indicates that Hpa-An has great future tourism potential, if current problems are addressed. Those problems include the availability of tourist information, transportation options to the destination, poor Internet access and quali