Min Hsu – entrepreneur of Excellent Travel Agency – local travel agency, located around Inle lake, one of the most touristic areas of Myanmar. It works for the good of local people and the lake itself.
Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?
I was building the lodge for tourists since 8 months. And only yesterday I got the license. Because the government changed, power changed. The lodge is built in the village and the village is the owner. Employees are also from the village. Tourists can go there and stay, see how the real life in the village looks like. Some clients with good mindset share their knowledge, for example how to make water piping or decoration from bamboo. Villagers don’t waste time anymore, for drinking or something, they get knowledge, entertainment like television or library and in the lodge they have facilities they can use.
Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?
Changing the mindsets of the villagers. And also investment. I’m not rich, I’m not a businessman. And another challenge is advertising. I’m not good inIT, I need help from European people, people with knowledge, website creator, I have to join with them.
Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?
A good team. I’ve already contacted some skillful people. Some of my friends help me with the hotel, other with creating cycling tours, some will teach us about organic farming. They want to join because they see this business is not for me, it’s for people.
Would you like to add something else?
Before I was a porter, I carried baggage of other people. That time, 10 years ago, I didn’t speak English, I learned from costumers. I followed trekking groups and tried to improve my English. That time I met many wealthy people. But people in the mountain, in the forest, they have a very low income, almost nothing, like me that time. But now I got knowledge, I got education. That’s why I can change my life. But most people don’t have this chance, they follow the same pattern for generations. Their grandfather worked in agriculture, so they do the same. And they don’t learn how to improve the garden, they don’t want to change. But the weather has already changed and we need to adjust. Some of the local people don’t want to go to office, government place, library, anything like that. Because they don’t have basic education and they are ashamed. We have to go to them. Bring them knowledge which will improve their life. And this will also improve the condition of our lake, which is worse and worse every year.
The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.