Name: Peter Richards
Hometown: Espom, Surrey, UK
Job: Consultant on Cultural Tourism Development and
What are your thoughts on the state of tourism
in Myanmar at the moment?
A lot of really excellent, fun, inspiring,
cross-cultural experiences have been developed in Myanmar, and many more are in
the pipeline. For example, community based tourism programs. On the ‘for
improvement end', there is a need for more, and better coordinated destination
planning, for example to help balance supply and demand planning. Hotel prices
will have to go down a bit, or Myanmar will simply loose opportunities to
competing countries where you get more for less.
changes would you like to see going forward?
We need to recognize, share and build on examples
of existing, good examples of responsible and inclusive tourism in Myanmar.
This is already happening in some cases. The more our industry learns from
useful work which has already been done, the better. Teamwork which blends
international skills and experience and local skills and insight, with mutual
respect, is a good foundation for success during this stage of tourism
development in Myanmar.
can travellers be more community/culturally-sensitive in their travels?
Most travelers do not want to see tourism as an 'industry.'
However, with thousands of travelers heading to the same destinations, we are
rarely on a unique journey. Our 'snapshot' of experience is part of an ongoing,
movie of experience for destinations. The choices we make do contribute
directly towards positive and negative impacts. Choosing to use a professional
tour operator with a commitment to responsible tourism helps to support a
better tourism industry in Myanmar. If communities have local tour guides, or
offer community based services, please respect this effort and use local
you love about your job?
Working with effort, love and hope alongside
rural villagers, tour operators, government and NGO professionals towards a
better tourism industry, which benefits local people and the environment. I
love playing a part giving people who were born thousands of miles apart the
chance to sit on the floor, share food and get to know each other a little. We
can't wait for politicians in air conditioned conference halls to create a
culture of peace. Better to do it ourselves, people to people.
do you hate about your job?
Nothing. I am very lucky. I appreciate that my
amazing wife and children are understanding and support the time I have to
spend in the field.
us about a magical Myanmar moment you've had?
There are so many. Seeing the first rays of
golden sunlight touch the Shwedagon pagoda at sunrise... Climbing to the top of
a sacred, forest mountain with the flamboyant Kayaw, who are like forest super
heroes... they know everything about forest foods and medicines. Being able to
work with teams of Myanmar and international colleagues, dealing with
challenges from the field to tourism fairs is a huge privilege which I
appreciate very deeply. Thank-you everyone.