Mr. Peace on Spotlight

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Mr. Peace on Spotlight

Mr. Peace on Spotlight,

Promoting Responsible Tourism

Nyein Chan represents peace to many people. He People Power.” does his best every day to live up to this reputation.

An admirer of his work says: “Despite the difficult situation in the past years, Nyein never gave up belief in promoting and supporting responsible travel in Myanmar. “He has invested a lot of time and money to keep the ball rolling – and he never wanted any profile for himself. He works in the background, quietly but continuously.” He started Supreme Services Tourism 13 years ago with the co-operation of Tay Za and his friend’s father. The start of 2011 has seen around 20 percent improvement in trade with a turnover nearing $US30,000. Nyein’s business philosophy is wealth distribution and he links his attitude to his birth. It coincided with the opening of talks calling for the end of conflicts within Burma, now Myanmar, and he reveals : “I was born in 1963 at the time of moves to bring unity to the motherland and so my name was given the meaning of peace. “My father was a politician and my mother a businesswoman so it was the perfect match! I learned that ‘whatever I will it becomes my strong wish but never let it be governed by money.’” The creation of S.S.T in Yangon was also the beginning of Nyein’s fervent desire to advance ecotourism – to benefit conservation and local people in his country. “Later we defined our ideal to be a ‘touring business which assists the development of indigenous communities while preserving the heritage of mother nature, resources and cultures.’ “It became, for me, the foundation of my slant on responsible travel. These feelings were heightened in 2008 when Myanmar was struck by the devastating Nargis Cyclone – the worst natural disaster in our history and causing at least 138,000 deaths. “I discussed with friends how we could reverse the serious downturn in tourism while helping the recovery of Nargis. It had been a struggle for us – we almost collapsed as a firm.” But this hardship was as nothing sat alongside the horrors of Nargis. “I said to my people ‘SST will survive if and only if we can gain support and overcome the five enemies – Water, Fire, King(Government), Thief, Hater.’ “I invited Nicole Haeusler (see pages 20- 21) to conduct a seminar as an initiative of ‘Society for Sustainable Tourism.’ She helped me organise Responsible Tourism workshops on two different occasions.” This year Myanmar staged its first national ecotourism workshop, attended by 90 delegates, with 16 specialists and operators from the private and public sectors giving advice. Among the RT best practices discussed was the unique and intimate relationship between traditional fishermen and Irrawaddy dolphins on the Ayeyawady River. Dolphins answer human call signals and drive fish into cast nets – a phenomenon which clearly needs to be protected from mass excursions. Myanmar’s newly formed Tourism Board has seen visitor figures hit 190,300 in the first six months – an increase of 29 per cent. Up until September, SST had brought in 20 groups of 35 travellers – from Asia, Europe and the USA. “There were 14 repeat customers among those,” says Nyein. “We work together with the regions and share the same dreams. That makes for a strong bond between us and communities. My ambition is for the business to become a unique tour operator as a responsible partner. “Exchanging knowledge, helping each other, having synergy between them and us. That is what gives me pleasure. I think such inclusive business that benefits the locals is more sustainable than aid. Our main focus is coupling sustainable development with People Power.” There is a groundswell of backing among authorities, guides and companies to follow and introduce positive RT principles. It is hoped to make information widely available to highlight issues varying from garbage collection to tree planting, socio-cultural impacts to how to conduct fund raising. Nyein, 48, is fascinated by nature and recalls: “While I was leading a VIP guest, I noticed the importance of bird-watching and that caused me to fall in love with conservation, environmental education. I began the Myanmar Bird and Nature Society and became an honorary member of Oriental Bird Club. It was a dramatic switch because previously I had shot birds!” Nyein married former colleague Nilar Lwin and they have three sons.

Nyein Chan @ Global Social Entrepreneurship

Nyein Chan @ Global Social Entrepreneurship

American explorer-writer-photographer Brenda Davidson-Shaddox says: “Nyein is the most noble young man I have had the privilege of knowing. I met him when he first married Nilar and they have become a second family to me. He and I have trekked throughout Myanmar together, often under extreme conditions. We have slept in the same way stations, at times eaten whatever foods were available, been hot, cold, wet, muddy and sometimes crabby with each other. We have endured blisters, aching muscles, even leeches; had frustrations and successes. But always, there has been and will always be a deep-seated respect and love between us. He is not ‘like’ a son to me. He IS a son to me.”

Nyein Chan Leadership- Ten Rules for Impact and Meaning

Nyein Chan Leadership- Ten Rules for Impact and Meaning

“Our main focus is coupling sustainable development with People Power.” 

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