The tourism market in Bagan and Mt. Popa is heavily focused on sightseeing tours. The main beneficiaries of tourism business are tour guides, drivers, e-bike renters and hotel/restaurant staff. Many local stakeholders without direct contact with tourists receive little benefit from tourism and lack the capacity to access the market. These stakeholders require training and a means of bringing their knowledge, skills and products to the marketplace.
Three Treasures Responsible Tourism in Bagan
We set up Three Treasures Responsible Tourism & Trading in Bagan in April of 2016 as a local social enterprise. We create jobs and improve livelihoods by bringing marginalized members of the community into the tourism industry in a responsible way.
Tour operator as start-up social enterprise
As a start-up social enterprise, we are working in collaboration with these stakeholder communities in New Bagan, West Pwa Saw, Na Jo Ai and Kyaukpadaung villages to provide training and develop new commuity-based tourism experiences for guests. We are expanding the range of products available to tourists as well as the income opportunities for locals, providing higher-value experiences that allow us to create more living-wage jobs for more people.
Authentic local experiences
Our business idea is attractive to tourists because it offers more than sightseeing. Based on the market research we conducted with local agents, hotels, and guests in the Bagan area, many visitors were tired of pagoda sightseeing tours. The feedback we received was that guests wanted to interact more with local people, learn about their ways of life and participate in hands-on activities. Many were concerned about the low standard of living in the villages. Organic farming and associated activities offer an opportunity for visitors to contribute in a positive way to community development through responsible tourism. We are confident there will be demand based on inquiries and feedback we have received from tour agents as well as the performance of similar projects we have visited in Thailand, Cambodia, Bali, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.
Our goal is to contribute to positive environmental impacts in our host communities by encouraging, training and modeling the use of organic agriculture, renewable energy and natural building in our infrastructure and operations.