A night market is to be set up in Mahabandoola Park street in a bid to promote small food vendors and restaurants and attract foreign tourists, U Khin Aung Tun from Myanmar Tourism Federation.
“Yangon regional government has agreed to our proposal for a night market in Mahabandoola Park street. It aims to provide hygienic and healthy food to locals and foreigners and also help basic food vendors who sell at night.
“Foreigners can have Myanmar foods, buy souvenirs or sit and read books there. It will contribute to the tourism industry,” he said.
A total of 14 small restaurants, two each from the seven downtown townships, will be selected on the criteria set by Myanmar Restaurant Owners’ Association (MWRA) from the pool of restaurants that benefit from the association’s help.
“Those that have discipline, can meet quality requirements and satisfy the customers will be approved to run stalls at the night market. We have studied the factors contributing to the success of night markets in other countries,” U Kyaw Myat Moe, general secretary of MWRA said.
Currently, MWRA is working on helping small restaurants and will select 14 based on the folowing criteria: how much they understand the goals of the association and are willing to cooperate with it, whether they are doing business in places allowed by the City Development Committee, if they are popular choices of the diners, and if they meet hygiene standards and are willing to undergo inspections.
“Many current food stalls have low hygiene practices and unattractive settings, so a well organised night market can change that. The food doesn’t have to be cheap and as long as the food and the packing are clean and of good quality it will work,” said Daw Ohnmar Oo, sales director of Golden Orbit Travel and Tours company.
“The stalls that don’t follow rules should be penalised and will be shut down,” she added.
“Neighboring countries also have night markets. Thailand in particular boasts a two-mile long night market in Chiang Mai. The market, which is open from 6pm to 2am, does not litter the place leaving it clean after it is closed in the morning,” she said, adding that if such practice is applied here, the night market will be a success.
Myanmar has launched an E-Visa system on September 1, part of a campaign to prompt tourist arrivals. Last year’s travel season recorded an annual increase of 50 percent in tourist arrivals and 3 million foreign tourists are expected to enter the country this year, according to Myanmar Tourism Federation.
“We appreciate support like this. We have almost always been having clashes with YCDC. We are allowed to set up shop only after 3pm, which is not a good time for selling food,” told a vendor selling steamed rice downtown.