Dawei Sustainable Tourism Development

Insight

Just because tourists aren’t traveling now doesn’t mean we can’t make tourism better for everyone when they come back.

Idea

Established in 1964 as a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, the ITC focuses on enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in emerging and transitioning economies to become more competitive. This includes connecting them to international markets for trade and investment, building capacities among stakeholders, and working to fulfill ITC’s mission of creating “trade impact for good.”

In this particular project, the ITC had partnered with the Netherlands Trust Fund to promote Inclusive Tourism in the Kayah State and Tanintharyi Region of Myanmar. The project ran from December 2017 to June 2021, and included support in the following areas:

  • Marketing and branding
  • Tourism statistics
  • Development of Codes of Conduct for tourists, tour operators, and communities

Following the success of the first iteration in Kayah State, a survey conducted by ITC suggested two villages in the Dawei area had the highest potential for additional inclusive tourism development, along with the Dawei city center. Because of this potential, the region was chosen for the continued development of its tourism products and services, as well as training their tourism service providers.

As another note on the context and our ability to work with stakeholders (already diminished because of COVID-19’s impact on travel), the start date of my internship was February 1st, 2021, which coincided with the same day of the 2021 Myanmar coup d’état. 

Impact

Over the course of six months (during the Covid-19 pandemic, no less!), Humphrey’s consistent efforts and his new digital home paid off. The system we developed allowed him to send tourists directly to his website to leave reviews, leading to a slow, steady march to become the number one tour in Mombasa.

That in turn allowed us to raise his prices, launch a second tour, and helped him establish Humphrey Tours as a leading tour company for Mombasa city tours.

Dawei Action Plan

As part of our deliverables to the ITC as a result of wrapping up the project in Dawei, we worked to create an Action Plan for Dawei. This 47-page document contains an introduction of the potential for cultural, natural, and historic tourist attractions in Dawei, its current tourism situation, its attractiveness as a destination, and the opportunities and constraints present, including a comprehensive SWOT analysis.

One of my first tasks was to take the already completed strategic objectives and workshop proposals that had been developed from the year prior and expand each area with its own issue/rationale and comments and method section to first explain the context for the proposals, then suggest a priority and a logic for their implementation. 

Dawei Communications Materials Creation

The first task in this aim was to identify which of the over 40 activities developed at this workshop could be addressed. Some, like establishing a yearly investment forum, were beyond the scope of what we could do remotely and without connection to stakeholders. Others, like creating a learning center on good tourism practices, were ones we could begin to address. I began this process by grouping the workshop activities with potential first under 3 chapter headings (“Communication & Promotion,” “Behavior Changes & Practices,” and “Governance, Sustainability, and Information”).

In the ensuing organization of activities under each theme, I began to develop potential materials that could begin to address more than one of these activities at a time. In addition to three animated videos, we created a guide for tourism stakeholders on digital marketing. This includes sections on creating content, developing strategies, and executing those strategies.

Leveraging Digital Promotion Opportunities For Tourism

One material ended up being a 50-page Powerpoint presentation entitled “Leveraging Digital Promotion Opportunities for Tourism” – a three-part project designed to explain to tourism stakeholders how to create tourism-themed content, design a promotion strategy, and execute it without a budget.

In our estimation, this project addressed three activities (on promoting the region on social media, social media best practices, and promoting the Dawei tourism community on Facebook) in one go.

To review this presentation on digital tourism marketing strategies, click here.