Community-Based Ecotourism Project Launched at Indawgyi Lake

By The Irrawaddy 18 June 2014

Conservation group Flora and Fauna International (FFI) and the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, and the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism announced that they have agreed to implement a community-based tourism project at Indawgyi Lake in central Kachin State.

“[C]reating a responsible, sustainable tourism strategy that involved and engaged local communities could prevent mistakes that have been made during the development of other regions, including Inle Lake, that can lead to serious environmental degradation,” a joint a press release said on Tuesday.

“This program can help to support everyone who lives here and is a good example for other communities in the country,” Deputy Minister of Hotels and Tourism Sai Kyaw Ohne said.

Last year, FFI organized a local workshop that created a community group, called ‘Inn Chit Thu – Lovers of Indawgyi’, that aims to support local livelihoods through the development of ecotourism. Young villagers were trained in ecotourism and provided with kayaks and mountain bikes that can be rented to tourists to explore the lake and its surrounding forests.

International tourist visits to the lake, the biggest in Burma, have since increased but the number remains small, FFI said. “Indawgyi Lake is still in a pristine state with thousands of migratory birds arriving each winter from their long journey starting in Siberia for resting and wintering in Indawgyi, turning the lake into a heaven for bird watchers and nature tourists,” the group said.