Economic Promotion of Inle Communities through cultural and natural heritage valorization
Following the process of gradual opening of the country, started in 2010 and still ongoing, Myanmar is going through fundamental economic, political and social changes, with some industries substantially growing and significant opportunities opening. Decades of stagnation, inefficient management and isolation have slowed down economic growth for a country ranked 150 on the Human Development Index (HDI), and a 26% of people living below the poverty line. Scarce employment opportunities and poor wages are bound to remain primary concerns also in the medium term, due to population growth rates and high numbers of youths (almost 25% of people is under 15) entering the labor market in the next years.
An important process of reforms has been started in order to improve economic and social conditions, also supporting the development of new industries. Among these, tourism is certainly a major intervention axis and has become a major strategic industry for the country, with significant increase of visits and huge economic potential, risen from 762,547 international visits in 2009 to 1,058,995 in 2012 and over 3 million in 2015. On the other hand, such growth rates, if not properly managed, might have negative impacts in the medium-long term on local economies, cultures and biodiversity.