Pandaw will not give up on Myanmar despite seeing a big fall in sales as a result of the Rohingya refugee crisis in north-west Myanmar.
Speaking at Clia UK’s river cruise and destination forum in Ho Chi Minh City, vice-president sales and marketing Marco Rosa admitted business from the UK and US has been affected by the political crisis.
He said: “Sales are down but we will not pull out. We support the local people, not the government. We will not abandon them.”
The company has nine river ships in Myanmar, between them sailing the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers, and the Irrawaddy Delta, as well as a ship that sails the Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea.
All river cruise lines have seen sales for Myanmar fall over the past few months, which is a dramatic turnaround from a few years ago when the military dictatorship ended, Aung San Suu Kyi became de facto ruler and demand rocketed.
At that point, companies including Avalon Waterways, APT, Scenic and Sanctuary Retreats piled into the market with new vessels.
Rosa said demand for Myanmar has gone up and down in the past 20 years so he is confident it will come back. “October to December last year were slow. It has picked up this year but it is still about 24% down on last year from the UK. There is no point starting any big marketing campaigns yet.”
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