RANGOON — Burma’s restaurant association is planning to open Rangoon’s first open-air night market—a concept that has proven a major tourist draw in neighboring countries—by the end of this year.
“There is no place for office staffs, students and families to visit at night,” said Kyaw Myat Moe, general secretary of the Myanmar Restaurant Association. “So we are planning to have a night market, tidy and clean, which will be of good quality with fair priced goods all in one place. It will become one more place to visit at night and a tourist attraction.”
He said that around 150 businesses would participate in the night market, including food stalls, book shops, handicrafts venders, fortune tellers and more.
“For starters, we will open only at one place in Rangoon. Right now, near Maha Bandoola Park is being considered for the night market,” he said.
He said the association was assessing the viability of options around the park, which is located in downtown Rangoon. Organizers are also negotiating with the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) on how many nights per week the market will be open, as well as drawing up the regulations that will govern participants.
“We will have an educative program for shop owners to sell their goods at fair prices, because it could harm the image of the market if they are selling their goods at very expensive prices,” Kyaw Myat Moe said, adding that the association would also discuss health and hygiene standards with night market sellers.
The Myanmar Restaurant Association has already informed Burma’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism of the plan.
“The night market will open at the end of this year after the arrangements for cleanliness, water, electricity, waste, emergency management and car parking are in place,” Kyaw Myat Moe said.
He said that although the total nights per week that the market would be open was not yet decided, its operation on Saturday and Sunday nights was guaranteed, in keeping with the practice of many other countries.
Crews will be on hand to clean up the area following the market’s closure each night.
“Families will be able to leisurely walk, shop and eat, and foreigners will be able to buy Burmese foods and goods at fair prices in the night market,” he said.
Night markets are a common feature of many Asian cities, and some of the world’s most well-known exist in Thailand, China, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Plans for the night market come as tourists to Burma are poised to grow by about 50 percent this year, to 3 million foreign arrivals. Burma’s tourism sector saw the highest relative growth in Southeast Asia last year, with the number of tourists spiking 52 percent, according to a report by the UN World Tourism Organization.