In June 2015, BIF launched the Product & Package Innovation Competition (PPIC). The PPIC awards successful applicants up to £14,000 in either grant funding, technical assistance or a combination of the two, to support players in the Myanmar tourism market to develop and pilot inclusive tourism packages and products.
Inclusive tourism training
To build understanding of inclusive tourism concepts amongst potential applicants, and lay the foundations for them to develop new tourism products and packages, BIF initially offered a week-long training programme to tour operators, hoteliers and other enterprises during May and June 2015. A total of seventy people attended the training, which was run in both Yangon and Nyaung Shwe, and covered key topics such as marketing, Do No Harm and inclusive business. More information about this inclusive tourism training including an overview of the content and participants’ feedback can be found here.
The competition so far
The first round of applications to the PPIC saw over 50 businesses submit an expression of interest, and over 35 put forward a full proposal for consideration. Throughout the application process, BIF provided advisory support to the businesses to help them refine their inclusive business models and draft their proposals. The selection of successful proposals was based on five criteria (benefit to low-income people, innovation, viability, sustainability and conflict sensitivity, and environmental impact) and the awardees were selected by a panel of both national and international experts in tourism and inclusive business.
The outcome of the first round of the PPIC was announced at an award ceremony on the 30th October 2015. 22 businesses were offered support to pilot their new products. The awardees represent a truly diverse range of business ideas and geographies: they are based in six different states across Myanmar, including the post-conflict region of Than Duang Gyi in Kayin State, and will be pursuing innovative ideas from equestrian tours to river boat dining cruises, beach bungalows, and tours for those with special access requirements and disabilities.
BIF is now working closely with these companies over the coming months and years to support them to develop and implement their projects, refine their inclusive business models and monitor their progress. Ultimately, BIF will look to showcase examples of commercially successful inclusive business products that will drive adoption and adaptation by other market players.
Given the success of the 2015 PPIC, a second round of the competition will start on 30 March and the winners are expected to be announced in November/December 2016. It is intended that the PPIC becomes an annual event in the Myanmar tourism calendar, to share knowledge of and support the growth of inclusive tourism. Through encouraging companies to pilot new business models, the ambition is that they will continue to adapt them and, ultimately, stimulate the adoption of similar products and packages by other businesses in the region – contributing to market-wide change.
Introducing inclusive tourism products and packages to expand opportunities for low-income people