A&K: Burma under tourism strain

A&K: Burma under tourism strain
By admin

Luxury operator Abercrombie & Kent has highlighted the strains placed on Burma’s tourism infrastructure by the recent spike in travel demand to the destination spurred by recent political change.

Managing director Australia Rama Sujata Raman told Travel Today the firm’s booking volumes to the destination had rocketed in the “hundreds of percent,” admitting such growth had been seen by all operators serving the destination.

But the sudden influx was seeing the firm encounter difficulties in the form of short supply of hotel rooms and
cruise boats.

“More vessels are sold out for the coming seasons and we are struggling to get rooms,” she said. There is also a shortage of qualified guides to cater for the rocketing tourist numbers.

Meanwhile, rising demand was driving up rates by a minimum of 30%, and had as much as tripled in some cases, she revealed. Yangon and Madalay, the two main tourist areas, had seen the largest increases.

With an office in Burma for more than 10 years, A&K was one of the few operators not to withdraw during recent years of political upheaval.

“It was at a cost to the business but we kept it going,” Raman admitted. “It was a personal passion – people in the country felt they hadn’t been forgotten when they saw a tourist.”

Raman predicted the investment would take place, but foresaw a long road of up to three or four years ahead, with potential investors seeking reassurance of returns before they committed. In the meantime, she anticipated prices would continue to spiral.

The operator is keeping its customers informed of the situation and is rolling out a recruitment and training guide program to ensure they have enough staff to cater to the demand.

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