Friday, August 18, 2017

Restrictive hotel licensing can drive conflict

The restrictive licensing requirements for hospitality accommodation in Myanmar can drive conflict in communities which are having more international visitors, according to a publication by Business Innovation Facility.

Bed and Breakfast licences are currently difficult to obtain in Myanmar. Photo - ShutterstockBed and Breakfast licences are currently difficult to obtain in Myanmar. Photo - Shutterstock

The Do No Harm: A Toolkit for the Tourism Industry developed by the UK aid-funded Business Innovation Facility (BIF) in Myanmar, in collaboration with non-profit organisation CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, provides a background to conflict, peace and “Do No Harm” in the context of the tourism sector for businesses, not-for-profit and government organisations which are involved in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries.

The publication uses the poorly designed hotel licensing rules as a case study to illustrate the relationship between peace, conflict and tourism.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MoHT) Notification 2/2011 on licensing of hotel and lodging-house business states that a hotel should have a minimum of 20 en-suite rooms and a lodging house should have a minimum of 10 en-suite rooms, before they can receive an MoHT licence for foreign visitors.

According to the case study, even licences for Bed and Breakfast (B&B), which are also currently difficult to obtain, require four rooms in a building separate from the main home.

The publication stated that local community members who have land available for building guest rooms and would like to join the tourism business to cater for both Myanmar and international tourists cannot access enough capital to immediately build a ten room guesthouse. However, local entrepreneurs would have the option to set up a few simple but safe rooms, and expand at a later stage if the investment succeeds.

“Because of the high barriers to entry caused by the licensing restrictions, some locals conclude that they would be better off selling their land for a high price to speculators from outside the community.

“This drives conflict, since local communities feel that the profits of tourism are going to outsiders, and that they have been squeezed out of their ancestral homes by high prices and red tape,” the case study explained.