Myanmar: Managing the environmental impacts of Myanmar’s growing hospitality sector

Myanmar: Managing the environmental impacts of Myanmar’s growing hospitality sector

In the last five to six years Myanmar has experienced a boom in its hospitality sector and according to recent data published by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) seventy five hotel and tourism related projects had been approved for investment as of the end of September 2018 with a combined investment value of over 3 billion USD.

Myanmar is blessed with natural beauty ranging from the pristine tropical islands of the Myiek Archipelago to the Inle Lake Biosphere Reserve and onto the Himalayan region of Northern Myanmar. Myanmar is also fortunate to have many spectacular cultural heritage sites such as the Bagan and Myauk-U archeological areas and the Pyu Ancient Cities.

Myanmar’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage is attracting visitors from all over the world and hospitality sector investment in new hotels and resorts is increasing to accommodate the growing number of visitors. Unfortunately, in some instances ill-conceived and poorly designed and executed hotel and resort projects have damaged the natural environment and cultural heritage that attracted the visitors in the first place.

With this in mind the government has sought to protect Myanmar’s natural environment and preserve its cultural heritage sites by enacting several key laws whose aims include ensuring that hospitality sector projects are developed in a more sensitive and sustainable manner that does not threaten Myanmar’s valuable natural resources, biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Hotel or resort projects planned for protected or ecologically sensitive areas or cultural heritage sites are by default required to obtain Prior Permission by preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for submission to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) to obtain the necessary approvals and acquire an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) prior to construction. The depth and scope of a hospitality sector EIA study will be largely proportionate to the location, nature and size of the proposed project. As a general rule, smaller projects in less sensitive areas are required to prepare an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) type study whereas larger projects planned for sensitive areas (e.g. Myiek Archipelago, Inle, Bagan etc.) will be required to prepare a more comprehensive EIA study. The difference in terms of cost and programme between these two types of impact assessment study can be significant.

SLP Environmental is an award winning ASEAN consulting company specialising in the provision of high quality environmental, social, health, safety and risk management consulting and advisory services throughout South East Asia.

SLP Environmental has comprehensive experience providing high quality environmental and social impact assessment services for hospitality sectors clients developing projects across South East Asia including Myanmar. Our multi-disciplinary team of international and national environmental consultants and ecological and social scientists provides the broad range of services that are required to prepare a robust environmental and social impact assessment. SLP specialises in providing EIA services that satisfy the national regulatory requirements as well as the environmental and social performance requirements of project funders such as the IFC, ADB and international investment banks.

In Myanmar, SLP Environmental is an approved Organisation by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) and we are authorized to prepare Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), Environmental and Social Impacts Assessment (ESIA) and Environmental and Social Management and Monitoring Plan (ESMMP) reports for Myanmar projects.

SLP Environmental has particular experience conducting environmental and social impact assessment studies for projects located in sensitive coastal and island settings having completed studies for projects located in Myiek and Dawei (Myanmar), Bali (Indonesia), Sihanoukville (Cambodia) and Koh Kood (Thailand).

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