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Signature Myanmar

Through cooperation and dialogue with suppliers and a solid network in tourism Signature Myanmar is contributing the promotion of good working- and living conditions for the Burmese people. Creating more local jobs is one of the key words.

Tourism creates new jobs

Tourism has great potential in terms of creating new jobs and a higher income for a lot of people in Myanmar.

I believe we have a responsibility in the tourism sector so that the money we earn will be spread out as much as possible to the population, says Astri Hole Frederiksen, owner of Signature Myanmar.

We prefer to choose hotels with local roots, where many of the employees come from the local areas, says Astri. It is important that the locals feel a sense of "ownership" of the development that is happening, so they don’t feel that it is outsiders who come and settle on everything.

"Decency in everything we do."

The tourism sector is often associated with massive CSR challenges related to human rights, labour rights, environment and corruption. Social responsibility is about identifying the areas where the company can minimize negative impacts and make a positive impact on the country and its people.

Signature Myanmar is fully aware of the specific challenges associated with working with tourism in the new Myanmar. Surprisingly, the assessment is that tourism in Myanmar is done a lot more responsibly and connected with fewer CSR challenges than one might think.

Signature Myanmar does not have a written CSR policy. Corporate social responsibility is formulated by the owner's attitude to business ethics and originates from a deep insight into the Burmese society and culture.

In short social responsibility is about "Decency in everything we do." It is about showing social responsibility in relation to employees, business partners and to contribute to sustainable economic development in Myanmar.

Trust, respect and responsibility are important cultural codes

Signature Myanmar consists of a small team of a foreign director, a General Manager and five local employees. The company has offices in the central Yangon. There is also a large network of freelance guides who are licensed by the Ministry of Tourism proving they have a certification exam in tourism.

The employees are paid well in comparison with other local businesses. But one thing is the salary another is the development of a good working environment. Therefore it is important that respect, trust and confidence exist between the employees and the management. Any criticism is explained in a way so that no one will be exposed of "loss of face".

In the office we are almost like a small family. We treat each other nicely with respect and understanding. As the boss and owner of a company in a country without public assistance schemes and insurance you will have to be aware that you are having a responsibility to your employees that extends beyond the workplace, says Astri.

She has lived in Myanmar for several years and has a in-depth understanding of the cultural codes that are important to create good relationships between the employer and the employee.

Read more about the Signature Myanmar CaseResponsible Tourism Policy, MyanmarSignature Myanmar's website

Three advices

  1. Take control of the entire value chain - long-term and personal relationships with your partners is the key to influence also their businesses in a responsible direction.
  2. Treat your employees with patience, respect and trust - both in relation to security, tone at work and remuneration.
  3. Make sure to spread your business activities so the local population gets as much benefit as possible from the tourism.