Home Insider Interview with Aung Lin Htin Co-Founder Myanmar Pole Star Travel and Tour

Interview with Aung Lin Htin Co-Founder Myanmar Pole Star Travel and Tour

Name : Aung Lin Htin

Position : Co-Founder Myanmar Pole Star Travel and Tour


How and when did you establish this Myanmar Polestar?

Myanmar Polestar Travel and Tour was established in 2000 and I was a cofounder. It starts as a family business. Tourism sector is crucial important to boost country economy. After the independence, developing countries in Asia such as Thai, Malaysia were attracting foreign investor and got international investments through the tourism business. Tourism sector is a smokeless industry and does not need much investment and those countries did not have much national reserve or investment money. They start their countries with the tourism to set forth to become the industrialized countries. Another point is when investors or business men visit other country as a tourist; they can know more about the country and can see potential of the country that they visit… For example, when a business man visits Myanmar, they notice the good things about Myanmar and acquired a connection and gain the mindset to invest in Myanmar.

What sort of difficulties did you face while starting the business?

There are lots of difficulties I faced in past. When we started the business, Myanmar was under the rule of Military government. At that time, when we sold our tour programs to tour agents (clients), tour agents from other countries were indecisive to buy. They think Myanmar is not stable as well as not safe for their customers. We need to explain a lot about safety in Myanmar. On the other hand, government did not have budget to promote the tourismsector. We need to use our own budget. I went to Japan many times to explain potential of Myanmar tourism sector. Moreover, local people did not have much international exposure back then. So we need to explain foreign tourist about this and by travelling Myanmar, local people gain international exposure and they can support the change towards democratic transition.

Another difficulty is cultural differences. In past, internet connection was sluggish. It took five minutes to send one mail. So, to reply the client’s questions, sometime we need to communicate through phone instead of replying by mail. We have to let the clients know that we are working and explain the reason for being slow.

Another one was human capacity a tthat time. Some of Myanmar people follow as per the order but they lack of thinking skills of deciding what to do next. But that is not their fault. At the same time, there is a lot of strong point of local people. They can survive under any circumstance.

Please explain our readers about Myanmar Polestar’s cur-rent program.

The first program is leisure market which we focus on Myanmar’s nature, culture and tradition.

Another program is for Corporate market. Trip is focus on Business travellers and it reflects current situation of Myanmar. There will be a mini seminar which is going to explain about Myanmar economic policy, FDA law, etc. Excursion trip to factories (for example- Thilawa SEZ) are also included in this trip.

Last but not least, Mice market program. M means meeting, I mean incentive, C for conference and E for event. For example – to hold meeting in Myanmar, we need to manage accommodation, food for all guest, etc. MICE are really famous around the world since when I was attending university in Japan 15 years ago. Pacific World is one of the prestigious MICE service company and provide MICE service for over 40 countries in world. Myanmar Polestar is an affiliated partner of Pacific World.

What is the current target segment for Myanmar Polestar?

Last year, the number of Myanmar Polestar’s international clients was almost 5,900. 60 percent are from Japan and 40 percent are from the rest of the world.

Among the tour which Myan-mar Polestar provided, which one is the most famous?

Discovery Myanmar, Bagan and Mandalay destination For leisure market, “Discovery Myanmar” program with its destinations to Bagan, Inlay and Mandalay is the most famous.

For MICE market, clients are interested in learning of Myanmar current situation as they can find out more about potential and national resources of Myanmar.

Do you have any plan to expand new tour program or country?

We plan to expand MICE market and we are going to start OTA program (online sale). The trend of tourism ismoving forward. There are two kinds of market for tourism; before departure and after departure.

Compared to your working experiences at Japan, what are the differences between working in Myanmar and in Japan/other countries?

There are lot of different between Myanmar and Japan. As a developed country, infrastructure such as electricity, internet connection, and roads are good and everything can be planned in advance

Myanmar have good environment but infrastructure needs to be improved.

Aside from Myanmar Polestar Travel and Tour, what businesses are you running currently?

We are doing construction, running a car workshop in a joint venture with a Japan Company, Polestar Kaigo (service to aging people) and real estate, some of other businesses.

What is your opinion on Myanmar’s tourism sector?

There is a lot of positives on Myanmar’s tourism sector. For a neighbor country like Thailand, tourist arrivals are three times that of Myanmar . So Myanmar tourism can be grow as much as Thailand. Policy and strategy is important. Currently, Myanmar tourism is niche but not mass tourism.