Travel Sector Updates

Depreciation of Myanmar Kyat against US dollar causes topsy-turvy difficulties in travel-related businesses

Photo: Supplied / Central Bank of Myanmar

Depreciation of Myanmar Kyat against US dollar causes topsy-turvy difficulties in travel-related businesses

Difficulties and unnecessary complicated process have been happening at travel-related businesses such as travel companies, airlines and travellers after the US dollar exchange rate rose sharply to 1,512 Kyats for a US dollar in the local market recently according to the sources in the tourism industry.

Some travel agencies requested local travellers who will go abroad to pay the air ticket fare in US dollar, and it caused difficulties to local travelers when the US dollar exchange rate was unstable.


“I went to Kyaukkon Branch of KBZ and asked them what was the exchange rate today and draw K4m from my account. Then I asked them where I can exchange the cash with US dollar and their answer was that there was no exchange service and they just had USD100. And, they also said the bank had no US dollars to exchange. So, I went to CB Bank branch at 61/2 Mile in Mayangon Township. I learnt that the bank branch had sold only USD300 per person according to the directive from the bank authorities.

So, this issue hit some sectors including tourism industry and causes a topsy-turvy situation. I like to see and know how and what the government will handle this issue,” said U Ko Ko Aung, a businessman who had difficulties on buying US dollars at some local private banks on August 17.  

My Magical Myanmar made queries about the issue by contacting KBZ Bank’s Call Center. A staff on duty at the bank said that the bank resold US dollar to buyers upon the ratio of the amount of US dollar at the bank and that of sellers.  

To find a solution to this issue, the Central Bank of Myanmar issued a memorandum dated August 13, 2018 to remove the trading band ± 0.8% on buying and selling of Myanmar Kyat against one US Dollar. As the Central Bank has tried to stabilize the USD exchange rate in the market through selling USD6.95m to the local banks, the exchange rate of USD with Kyat went down a bit a few days later. Today (August 17) exchange rate was K1498 against one US dollar according to the Central Bank of Myanmar.

The depreciation of Myanmar Kyat against US dollar also caused a sort of damage to operation of local travel agencies.  

Ma The Su, official in charge of making outbound travel schedules from AKM, said,” Truly speaking, it is not ok to do the business as the dollar rose. We deal with travellers. No travellers, no good operation of business. So it means the issue causes a sort of damage to our business. Now, there is a significant decrease in the number of travellers who deal with us.”        

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Theingi Htun is a journalist who worked for two years at Yangon Times Journal and Flower News. She also worked for two years at Democracy Today News as Senior Journalist. She wrote many articles about culture, the travel sector and lifestyle stories too. Now she is working at My Magical Myanmar as a travel writer and social media executive."


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