MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING CULTURAL TOURISM IN …

categories of cultural tourism, many of which could be divided into further subsets: heritage tourism, arts tourism, urban cultural tourism, rural cul...

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MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING CULTURAL TOURISM IN THE UNION OF MYANMAR: A CASE STUDY OF TAUNGGYI-INLAY REGION, SHAN STATE Khaing Mee Mee Htun and Manat Chaisawat Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus [email protected]

ABSTRACT The aim of this study is to propose effective marketing strategies that would promote cultural tourism in the Union of Myanmar specifically in Taunggyi–Inlay Region, Shan State and develop it as a well–known cultural tourist destination. Using an Importance–Performance Analysis (IPA), the study has examined the tourists’ perceived importance and performance of cultural tourist attractions and activities and marketing mix in Taunggyi-Inlay Region. The research findings through IPA and the results of the in-depth interviews with selected hospitality and tourism authorities and businesses have suggested the proposed major target markets and specific marketing strategies for promoting cultural tourism in Taunggyi-Inlay Region and similar destinations in the country. This study also suggests some practical steps for the public and private stakeholders in the industry in formulating future marketing plans and strategies.

Key Words: cultural tourism, the Union of Myanmar, Taunggyi-Inlay Region, marketing mix, marketing strategies

1. Introduction The Union of Myanmar is traditionally and best known as a cultural destination for Theravada Buddhism, numerous golden pagodas and temples, historical monuments, ruins of ancient cities and rich archaeological sites. Cultural tourism in Myanmar has developed as a main stream for more than 20 years and the cultural attractions and activities are the primary generator of the country’s tourism. The wellknown cultural tourist attractions in Myanmar include the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the wonders of the world; Bagan, one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia; Mandalay, the last capital of Myanmar Kingdom boasting its rich cultural heritage and better known as the centre of Myanmar culture, and several other historical and archeological sites. In the year 2007, the international tourist arrivals to Myanmar accounted for 716,434 including cultural tourists. Currently, Myanmar is still endeavoring towards achieving its target goal of one million tourist arrivals in the near future. There was a stagnate status of tourist arrivals in the past few years and there is a need to put more efforts in hospitality and tourism marketing. Since Myanmar is offering cultural tourism products and services as core products, it is essential to examine the profile of cultural tourists to Myanmar in terms of both geographic and demographic segments, their satisfaction with the available cultural tourism products and services, their actual needs and wants, likes and dislikes, and attitudes towards Myanmar culture and cultural tourism products and services.

In order to promote and market Myanmar’s potential cultural destinations and attractions and to further enhance the cultural tourism growth, specific steps need to be taken. These includes reviewing the tourism market environment and current tourism marketing strategies being practiced, conducting an importance-performance analysis to examine the tourists’ perceived importance and performance of cultural tourist attractions and activities and marketing mix, if necessary, developing an appropriate marketing mix for cultural tourism to meet the needs and wants of cultural tourists visiting Myanmar, and finally proposing and implementing these marketing strategies. Furthermore, since there are only few tourism surveys about specific destinations or cultural tourist attractions in Myanmar, it is worth doing a survey which investigates the potentiality of a potential cultural tourist destination and promoting that area in accordance with customers’ needs and wants and by employing effective marketing strategies. Such survey will serve as an example for other cultural tourist destinations and attractions in the country which can also be promoted and marketed in similar ways. For this study, Taunggyi-Inlay Region, Shan State, in the eastern part of Myanmar was selected as a survey area as it is one of the dominant cultural regions in the country, despite an eco-tourism destination simultaneously.

2. Literature Review 2.1 Cultural tourism

While people have always traveled to learn about different cultures, cultural tourism began to be recognized as a distinct product category only since the mid-1980s. Today, it is arguably the most popular form of special interest tourism (Mckercher and du Cros, 2006). The term “cultural tourism” has been used interchangeably with “heritage tourism” (Christou, 2005). Richards (2007, p. 2) has stated that “cultural tourism is available as a development option to all destinations, because all places have culture”. In deed, all travel involves an element of cultural tourism (Mckercher and du Cros, 2002). Among the various suggested definitions of cultural tourism defined by many scholars, one of the best known conceptual definitions has been provided by Richards (1996, p. 24) who defined that cultural tourism is "the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs". He has also provided a technical definition of cultural tourism, stating that cultural tourism includes "all movements of persons to specific cultural attractions, such as heritage sites, artistic and cultural manifestations, arts and drama outside their normal place of residence". Silberberg (1995, p. 361) and WTO (1985, p. 131), cited in Christou (2005), defined “cultural tourism” as the following respective statements: “visits by persons from outside the host community motivated wholly or in part by interest in the historical, artistic, scientific or lifestyle/heritage offerings of a community, region, group or institution” and “cultural tourism includes movements of persons for

essentially cultural motivations such as study tours, performing arts and other cultural tours, travel to festivals and other cultural events, visit to sites and monuments, travel to study nature, folklore or art or pilgrimages”. Smith (2003) gave some of the generic categories of cultural tourism, many of which could be divided into further subsets: heritage tourism, arts tourism, urban cultural tourism, rural cultural tourism, indigenous cultural tourism and contemporary cultural tourism. McKercher and du Cros (2002, p. 138) gave the definition of a cultural tourist as “someone who visits a named cultural or heritage attraction, a museum, art gallery, historic site, goes on a cultural or heritage tour, attends a festival, sees a live performance, or participates in some other defined activity at some point during their trip, regardless of the reason for visiting the destination”. The two authors combined the two dimensions of importance of motivation for travel and depth of experience in order to categorize cultural tourists into five groups: the purposeful cultural tourist, the sightseeing cultural tourist, the serendipitous cultural tourist, the casual cultural tourist and the incidental cultural tourist.

2.2 Marketing Mix Many scholars discussed marketing strategy factors (the marketing mix) and marketing environmental factors because of the relationship between these factors and the success of marketing. According to Shoemaker, Lewis and Yesawich (2007), the marketing mix was originally developed by Professor Neil Borden of Harvard and the “four Ps” has been

introduced from his proposed elements, through subsequent alteration. Borden proposed six original elements–product planning, pricing, distribution, promotion, servicing, and marketing research – which were later reduced to four elements by McCarthy – product, price, place (distribution), and promotion. The authors also explained that the marketing of hospitality services is different from the marketing of goods and thus requires a different approach to the marketing mix–that is – to make the concept of marketing mix more useful and applicable for hospitality decisions. Kotler & Armstrong (2006, p. 49) explained “an effective marketing program blends all of the marketing mix elements into an integrated marketing program designed to achieve the company’s marketing objectives by delivering value to customers”.

3. Methodology The data for the study was obtained by using both the quantitative and qualitative research methods during December 2007. The primary data was collected through a questionnaire survey of 250 foreign tourists, of which 215 were found applicable to this study. The convenience method was adopted in the questionnaire survey. The questionnaires in English were structured by providing a 5-point Likert scale to rate how much the respondents agreed with the attitude statements that assessed the potentiality of Myanmar culture, cultural tourist attractions and activities in Myanmar and in Taunggyi-Inlay Region. Applying an Importance-Performance Analysis, 5-point Likert scales were provided in

assessing the tourists’ perceived importance and performance of cultural tourist attractions and activities and marketing mix in Taunggyi-Inlay Region. This study also conducted the in-depth interviews with the Head of the National Tourism Organization (NTO), Deputy Director from Taunggyi Tourism Office, 15 leading travel companies in the country and 38 out of 94 hotel service providers in Taunggyi-Inlay Region. The census and purposive methods were used for the interviews with the public sector, and the convenience and purposive methods were applied for the private hospitality and tourism businesses. The 17 cultural tourist attractions and activities (variables) obtained partly from the typical list of the types of cultural sites and attractions provided by the European Centre for Training and Regional Co-operation (ECTARC) and 31 marketing mix details (variables) were created based on the 7 marketing Ps discussed by Kotler et al (2003) and Kotler (2006).

4. Findings and Discussions 4.1. Demographic characteristics, traveling experience and travel motivation of respondents Table 1 exhibits the demographic information about the respondents The gender was composed of more male tourists than females, 56.3% and 43.7% respectively. The results showed that the single largest age group was between 30 and 39 at 24.7 % while

Table 1 Demographic information about the respondents Demographic characteristics 1. Gender Male Female 2. Age Under 20 20 - 29 yrs 30 - 39 yrs 40 - 49 yrs 50 - 59 yrs Over 60 yrs 3. Nationality Asian European North American Oceania’s 4. Marital status Single Married Widowed Divorced 5. Religion Christianity Islam Buddhism No Religion Others

121 94

56.3 43.7

5 28 53 38 49 42

2.3 13.0 24.7 17.7 22.8 19.5

46 122 23 24

21.4 56.7 10.7 11.2

84 115 7 9

39.1 53.5 3.3 4.2

117 1 32 59 6

54.4 0.5 14.9 27.4 2.8

over 50 year old group accounted for more than 42.3 percent. The Europeans (56.7 percent) were the most demanding market segment followed by the Asians (21.4 percent). This result matches the previous yearly tourism statistics developed by the local tourism office in Taunggyi. Among the respondents, 54.4 percent were Christians and 27.4 percent were “no religion” group.

Demographic characteristics 6. Education High school or lower Bachelor degree Masters degree and above Others 7. Occupation Professional Government employee Business owner Business employee Student Retired Unemployed Others 8. Annual household income USD 20,000 or less USD 20,001 - 40,000 USD 40,001 - 60,000 USD 60,001 - 80,000 USD 80,001 - 100,000 Over USD 100,000 9. Job related to culture Yes No

64 82 59 10

29.8 38.1 27.4 4.7

43 18 27 63 13 38 3 10

20.0 8.4 12.6 29.3 6.0 17.7 1.4 4.7

32 42 72 21 12 36

14.9 19.5 33.5 9.8 5.6 16.7

47 168

21.9 78.1

In relation to the educational background of respondents, most of them were educated; 65.5 percent held at least one bachelor degree. 27.4 percent of the respondents were highly educated at masters and PhD level. The majority was business employees (29.3 percent), professionals (20.0 percent), and retired persons (17.7 percent). Of total respondents, 93.9 percent were currently

employed. The most frequent level of income reported was USD 40,001-60,000 (33.5 %). Of the respondents, 21.9 percent has an occupation related to culture. This point seems to be consistent with the assumption given by Richards (2007, p.15), which states “One of the seemingly contradictory aspects of cultural tourism is the fact that people working in jobs connected to the cultural sector tend to engage in cultural tourism more frequently.” It can also be assumed that those respondents whose jobs were related to culture might have more understanding about the value of culture and their experience in visiting cultural sites in the region might have been deeper than incidental cultural tourists to the region. Among the respondents, 26 % were the repeat visitors to Myanmar and 16.7 % to Taunggyi-Inlay Region. In terms of tourists’ length of stay, 76.7 % of the total respondents had stayed in Myanmar for 11 days or more and 57.2 % had stayed for 3 days or less in Taunggyi-Inlay Region. The survey results also show tourists’ behaviour explaining that during the trip to Taunggyi-Inlay Region most of the respondents (27.0 %) traveled with their spouses or girl-friends/boy-friends, followed by the group who traveled with their families/relatives (22.8 %). The respondents’ purposes of visits indicated that the majority (54.4%) came for holiday/pleasure. Other important purposes for visiting were “visiting cultural sites and events” (20.0 %) and “visiting friends and relatives (VFR)” (12.6 %). In this case, 20 percent of total respondents were purposeful cultural tourists.

The majority arranged their visits with the travel agencies/companies which accounted for 56.7 % of the total respondents and 39.1 % made travel arrangements independently. Among the respondents, 92.1 % had already made the decision to visit Myanmar before they left their countries. Regarding the influencing factors in tourists’ decision to travel to Myanmar, 53.11 % revealed “personal interest” as the most powerful influencing factor and “recommendations from friends and co-workers” as the second most powerful influencing factor (See Table 2). * The respondents marked more than one option of factor influencing and motivation for travel. It was also found that the repeat visitors had reported mostly on “personal interest” while most of the first-time visitors admitted that the most influencing factor on their decision to travel was “recommendations from friends/co-workers”. This showed that firsttime visitors’ decision making to visit Myanmar was partially influenced by the repeat visitors who might have been the promoters of Taunggyi-Inlay Region by word of mouth to others. To the respondents, the most dominant motivation for travel was “discovering other cultures” which occupied 30.91 percent. It appeared that the respondents were more likely to learn about the others’ cultures which were apparently different from their own. Other interesting motivations for visiting TaunggyiInlay region were “experiencing the atmosphere of the place” (26.23 %) and “learning new things and increase knowledge” (23.12 %).

Table 2 Factor Influencing the Tourists’ Decision to Travel to Myanmar and Motivation for Travel Influencing factor and motivation for travel i) Influencing factor in decision making to travel to Myanmar* Personal interest

Influencing factor and motivation for travel ii) Motivation for Travel* 128

53.11

Travel guide materials

18

7.47

Websites

15

6.22

Recommendations from family/relatives Recommendations from friends/co-workers Others

17

7.05

45

18.67

18

7.47

Experiencing the atmosphere of the place Discovering other cultures Learning new things and increase knowledge Rest and recreation Others

As a response to the question of tourists’ future plan to come back to Taunggyi-Inlay Region, over half of the respondents (53.02 %) mentioned that they would come back and visit Taunggyi-Inlay in the near future and 46.05 % described there was the possibility of coming back in the near future. Among the respondents, 86.05 % revealed that they would spread the positive word of mouth about Taunggyi-Inlay region to their relatives, friends and colleagues while 13.02 % had some willingness to be the promoters by word of mouth. 4.2. Tourists’ attitudes towards the potentiality of Myanmar culture and cultural tourist attractions and activities in Myanmar and in Taunggyi-Inlay Region Through the questionnaire survey, the very positive attitudes and comments were

101 26.23 119 30.91 89 23.12 55 14.29 21

5.45

provided by the respondents on the potentiality of Myanmar culture and cultural tourism products and those of Taunggyi-Inlay region. All the respondents strongly agreed that “Myanmar has the potential to be a world wellknown cultural tourist destination.” and that “Cultural tourist attractions in Myanmar are very diverse and unique.” They were also in agreement that “Myanmar culture and traditions are very impressive and worth learning.”, “Taunggyi-Inlay Region offers very diverse and unique cultural tourist attractions.” and “Taunggyi-Inlay is a must (cultural) tourist destination.” 4.3 Importance-performance analysis of cultural tourist attractions and activities in Taunggyi-Inlay

The cultural tourist attractions and activities such as “local people and lifestyle”, “local villages” and “historical site” were very important to the respondents whereas “music and dance”, “meditation centers”, “local sports”, “other religious monuments” and “pilgrimage tourism” were at neutral level of importance. The One-way ANOVA test results explained that there were statistically significant differences in the levels of importance for “meditation centers”, “pilgrimage tourism”, “festivals and events”, “local people and lifestyle”, “local food and drinks”, and “local villages” and, thus, the importance of these attractions in a destination to tourists were related to nationality. The test results also suggested that the Asian respondents were more concerned about “meditation centers” and “pilgrimage tourism” and, again, the respondents from Asia and Oceania gave importance to “festivals and events”. The respondents from Europe and Oceania were more enthusiastic to observe “local people and lifestyle”, “local food and drinks”, and “local villages” than the other nationalities. When the performance of the cultural tourist attractions and activities in TaunggyiInlay were assessed, “local people and lifestyle”, “local villages” and “historical site” were the top three variables which showed “Very Good” performance while “local sports’, “meditation centers (at the monasteries)”, “other religious monuments (churches, mosques, etc.)” and “pilgrimage tourism” were the bottommost ones on which the respondents had revealed their perceptions as neutral level of performance.

The Pair Samples T-test results showed all of the respondents were generally satisfied with the 17 cultural tourist attractions and activities assessed and, regarding cultural attractions such as “local sports”, “pilgrimage tourism”, “meditation centers”, “other religious monuments”, “Buddhism”, “buildings and architecture” “local people and lifestyles”, “art, sculpture and crafts”, “colourful national tribes” and “local villages”, the positive gaps (differences) between the levels of importance and the levels of performance were statistically significant to produce “Satisfied” tourists. The results from the IPA (proposed by Hemmasi et al., 1994) can be summarized that the cultural tourist attractions and activities such as “local people and lifestyle”, “local villages”, “historical site”, “colourful national tribes”, “local food and drinks”, “pagodas and Buddhist monuments”, “floating markets”, “art, sculpture and crafts”, “Buddhism”, “festivals and events” fell into the Keep Up the Good Work Quadrant. This meant that these cultural tourist attractions and activities were given high importance by the respondents and the performances of them were also high enough to satisfy the respondents. On the other hand, the cultural attractions such as “buildings and architecture”, “museums”, “music and dance”, “meditation centers”, “local sports”, “other religious monuments” had been rated as Low Importance/Low Performance. Although the performance levels may be low in this cell, these attractions do not need any attention as they are considered low important by the respondents.

4.4 Importance-performance analysis of the marketing mix The 31 details of the marketing mix in Taunggyi-Inlay region were assessed on their importance and performance. The marketing mix details such as “safety and security” and “a wide variety of cultural tourist attractions and activities” in a destination the respondents would visit were “Very Important” to them. Besides, the One-way ANOVA test suggested that there were statistically significant differences in the levels of importance between nationalities with respect to “accessibility”, “transportation”, “public rest rooms”, “reasonable price/value for money”, “reasonable zoning fees”, “payment methods”, “promotional materials”, “advertising”, “sales promotion”, “information centers”, “online booking”, “competency skills of the staff”, “problem solving ability of the staff”, and “signage”. The respondents from Asia and Oceania gave importance to “accessibility”, “transportation”, “public rest rooms”, “payment methods”, “promotional materials”, “advertising”, “sales promotion”, “information centers”, “online booking”, “competency skills of the staff”, “problem solving ability of the staff”, and “signage” than other respondents. The respondents from North America and Oceania found “reasonable price/value for money” and “reasonable zoning fees to cultural sites” more important than the Asian and European respondents. Regarding the performance of the marketing mix details, the details such as “attitude of the host community”, “safety and security”, “a wide variety of cultural tourist

attractions and activities” received the “Very Good” performance mean scores whereas other details such as “discounts”, “advertising” and “sales promotion” had been rated at the “Neutral” level of performance. In measuring the tourists’ satisfaction, the Pair Samples T-test results illustrated that all of the respondents were generally identified as “Satisfied Tourists” relative to the 31 assessed marketing mix details. There were statistically significant positive gaps between the importance and performance levels for the following 7 marketing mix details: “employee respect”, “responsiveness of the service providers”, “attitude of the host community”, “local cultural products/local souvenirs”, “landscape”, “cultural ambiance of the destination”, “travel company service”, resulting in “Satisfied” tourists. Figure 1 followed the adapted IPA model proposed by Hemmasi et al., (1994), as discussed in Chu and Choi (1999). The four quadrants were constructed based on the overall mean scores of the importance and performance ratings. The overall mean importance rating for the pooled data was 3.76, and the mean performance rating was 3.82. The figure explained that the marketing mix factors such as “people”, “product”, “place”, “physical evidence” were considered high important by the respondents and their performances were considered high important by the respondents. The needs and satisfaction of the respondents were met by the high performance of these 4 marketing mix factors. On the other hand, “process”, “price” and “promotion” fell into “Low Importance/

Figure 1 Importance-Performance Analysis Grid of the Marketing Mix

H I L

LI LP

I

III

Low Performance (Low Priority Quadrant). This carried the message that these 3 Ps were regarded as low important by the respondents and the hospitality and tourism marketers in the country should not exert extra effort to improve them as they were given low importance by the respondents and the performance of them was at the average level. Through the in-depth interviews with the selected personnel from the public and private sectors could account for the current tourism policies, cultural tourism development in Myanmar, limitations on the growth of cultural tourism in Myanmar, potential of Taunggyi-Inlay region as a cultural tourism destination, and the marketing strategies

II

I V

LI H P

currently being practiced by the hospitality and travel service providers in the country.

5. Conclusions and Recommendations The study has identified the high potential for cultural tourism development in Taunggyi-Inlay Region. It has also identified the important cultural tourist attractions and activities for different groups of nationalities and examined the tourists’ perceived performance of the cultural tourism products in the region. Based on the interview results and the previous tourism statistics developed by Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, the study has proposed the major target markets for cultural tourism as “Europeans” and “Asians”.

The results of IPA have shown the strengths of current marketing mix of Taunggyi-Inlay Region and the signal to the hospitality and tourism marketers in the country to keep up the good work. The survey results suggested that the repeat visitors to Myanmar and TaunggyiInlay Region, who tended to have higher level of expectation, still remained satisfied with the cultural products and services being provided. This implies that the performance levels of these attributes were still high enough to meet the satisfaction level of the repeat visitors. Though all of the respondents were satisfied with the cultural tourism attractions and activities they perceived, the hospitality and tourism marketers in the country should always improve their marketing efforts so as to raise the satisfaction level of tourists from “Satisfied” to “Very Satisfied” level, as the highly satisfied customers are more likely to return or to purchase (Kotler, 2006). Based on the findings from this study, the following marketing strategies are recommended to promote the cultural tourist attractions in Taungyi-Inlay region and similar cultural sites in the country:

Product To implement product development (cultural tourist attractions and activities) To ensure the authenticity of local people and lifestyle and local villages would be well-observed by the respondents from Oceania and Europe as these attractions are more important to them; encourage the communities to maintain their culture intact

and provide ways to tourists to experience the rural life through development of farm house stays, and engaging in the community related activities, etc. To prepare local food and drinks to be more palatable and kosher to the taste of the target markets and to let the tourists engage in the preparation of the local dishes; revitalize the floating markets as original by regulating them into selling the local produce such as vegetables, fruits and flowers rather than being crowded with many souvenir selling boats to attract tourists; establish the governmentsupported market areas in Taunggyi and Nyaung Shwe for the sales of locally produced art, sculpture and crafts including local souvenirs. To maintain authenticity of the cultural sites/attractions; undertake renovation work for the historical sites without spoiling the aesthetic beauty and historical values; assign dedicated staff to manage the sensitive and historical sites; avoid mass tourism in the area to protect against the erosion of the cultural assets and eco-system of the place. To retain the authenticity of the festivals to continue promoting these events to tourists and introduce interesting festiverelated activities to increase the visitors’ length of stay in the region; upgrade Taunggyi cultural museum by filling museum facilities like timely video presentation in English language about Shan culture and museum assets; develop cultural theatres in Taunggyi and Nyaung Shwe; as the respondents from Asia and Europe were concerned about meditation centers and pilgrimage tourism, these special interest groups should be

carefully identified and separated from others while sightseeing.

posing frequent times in different cultural sites although the fees are already flat.

To develop new products, facilitating and supporting products

To introduce diverse payment methods

To develop new cultural activities such as horse or elephant-riding, photography session in traditional dresses together with local amenities, flying colourful kites in pleasant evenings, and boat rowing with safety measures on Inlay Lake to see traditional fishing, floating gardens and villages; upgrade the restaurants, shopping centers, airports and bus-terminals; to oversee the service quality by the group composed of the representatives from the NTO, the hotel and travel associations and the selected hotel and travel professionals from the sector; undertake the standardization of hotels and restaurants; encourage signage in English.

Price To offer reasonable price/value for money and to collect reasonable zoning fees to the cultural sites To create value for money products and services through reasonable price or list price since the respondents from North America and Oceania are so concerned about reasonable price/value for money and reasonable zoning fees to cultural sites; to offer the discounted price by the hotels in the region on the request of the individual price conscious tourists or the long stay guests or frequently guests; for the entrance fees for cultural sites in the region, a better way should be considered to avoid

To introduce credit/visa cards; set up money changers in the region and the country.

Place To improve accessibility and upgrade transportation facilities To focus attention on the needs and wants of the respondents from Asia and Oceania in terms of accessibility and transport facilities as these two attributes are more important to them than the rest of the respondents; improve accessibility and to upgrade transportation facilities to/in the area; upgrade Taunggyi-Kakku/AungbanPindaya/Taung lay lone-Khaung Taing; increase more direct daily flights to Taunggyi and Heho; connect flights with Mae Hong Song or Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai in Thailand. To make good use of distribution channels, e.g. seeking out more contacts with associations of travel companies or individual travel companies in the destinations of the major target markets, and forming joint promotion committees with these travel companies.

Promotion To promote the country in collaboration with regional destination countries through different

media in order to improve the country’s image; set up overseas tourism offices/information centers in the target markets; produce effective marketing and promotional materials; promote the local festivals; raise the marketing and promotion funds by the public and the private sector and to promote more in overseas tourism fairs to reach the major target markets especially European and Asian markets; extend more networks with foreign TV channels from the major target markets that tend to broadcast the TV reportage about the tourism destinations; upgrade the Ministry’s website regularly; develop a specialized website about Taunggyi-Inlay region; build a professional tourist information office in Nyaung Shwe; arrange more familiarization trips for travel agencies and film crew abroad; arrange regional meetings in the region where delegates can be exposed to the cultural tourist attractions and activities.

Process To give authority to the front-liners for the smooth running of the process which has the direct affect on service quality and customer satisfaction; enhance reliability and assurance of online booking by improving infrastructure as electricity.

People To enhance tourism human resource development in the area i.e. to train the staff to improve required language, competency skills and problem solving ability to improve the service quality and standards; the NTO to seek

more contacts for the human resource development programmes from the regional or international tourism organizations; the NTO to organize tourism seminars and workshops; educate local people concerning preservation and conservation of natural and cultural sites and socio-cultural impacts due to tourism.

Physical Evidence To create reliability for the customers on the products by paying close attention to physical attributes of the products; establish the tourism safety units to provide safety and enhance the protection of the cultural sites; impose measures on cleanliness and sanitation so as to improve the hygiene standards, service quality and environmental quality; maintain the cultural ambiance of the destination; wellmange the local markets to have an appealing display and to control noise from them; install the engines of the motorboats on Inlay Lake with the muffler to reduce the noise and improve environmental quality. Furthermore, the following activities should be carried out as a part of the marketing programme: the positive image of the destination should be created by applying different media to counteract the negative image portrayed by some global media. This can be done through the national TV channels and websites, promotional materials and press release. The concerned authorities should pay more attention to the cultural site management. In terms of managing the promotional funds, the concerned authorities should make sure that bed taxes and other tourism-related taxes go

back into promoting tourism and developing the infrastructure to support tourism. Cooperation between and among public and private sectors is essential in the development of hospitality and tourism marketing mix. The NTO and the private sector should put more efforts in searching and sharing tourism promotional funds, product development, raising awareness of the destination. Market research should be occasionally undertaken as an important issue. In conclusion, it is observed that Taunggyi-Inlay Region has high potential for development which if implemented as planned, there would be substantial improvement in the marketing of Taunggyi-Inlay region and as a result it would enhance the inflow of tourist and cultural tourism in the area. Therefore, the region would see development taking place which would greatly benefit the socioeconomic situation of the region and the community would stand to benefit from this development.

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