Abercrombie & Kent USA has hosted a meeting of its top travel agent partners in Myanmar.
This year the A&K Advisory Board itinerary showcased the history, culture and traditional way of life in Myanmar.
|A&K Advisory Board members visit Myanmar|
"Interest in Myanmar has increased dramatically in the past year and a half and we expect that to increase even more following President Obama's historic visit to Myanmar," explained Abercrombie & Kent President Phil Otterson. "We were spellbound by this magical place and we all felt privileged to have had the opportunity to travel there now just as the country is beginning to open."
After a short stop in Bankgok the trip began in Yangon, where agents visited the Shwedagon Pagoda, followed by a private opening of the National Museum and the opportunity to participate in a food offering for the novice monks at the Kalaywa Tawya Monastery.
Next at Inle Lake agents spent several days exploring the area by longboat, visiting Ikat-style silk-weaving factories, the Ywama floating market, a hand-crafted umbrella workshop and cheroot-rolling workshop. The visit coincided with the Phaung Daw Oo Festival, a yearly event in which the Intha people take their most revered Buddha images on a tour of the lake on a decorated royal barge.
In Mandaly, agents watched artisans make thin leaves of gold leaf used for offerings, visited the 2,500-year-old, gilded Shwenandaw Monastery and walked along the U Bein Bridge, considered to be the longest teak bridge in the world. An early-morning balloon ride over Bagan allowed agents to watch the rising sun illuminate the thousands of stupas that stretch to the horizon.
Agents also got a chance to spend time with Ma Thanegi, a prominent writer and former personal assistant to Nobel Prize-winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the founder of the National League for Democracy.
4th Row (l to r): Mollie Fitzgerald (Frontiers International Travel), Libby Fitzgerald, Peter Carideo (CRC Travel), Mark Zancanaro, Lara Leibman (FROSCH), Randi Wender, Mary Ann Ramsey (Betty Maclean Travel), Jill Romano (Dimensions in Travel), Robert Romano (Fugazi Travel), Randy Ney (Universal Travel), Marty Greenstein, Brian Jonat, Bill North, Phil Otterson (A&K USA), John Strong, Patrick Macleod (A&K Hong Kong)
3rd Row (l to r): A&K Myanmar staff, Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg (Valerie Wilson Travel), Ma Thanegi, Gloria Greenstein (Protravel), Lea Ney, Joan Jonat (Protravel), Meg North (Brownell), Nancy Strong (Strong Travel)
2nd Row (l to r): A&K Myanmar staff, Bob Friedman (A&K USA), Eleanor Coffey (A&K Myanmar)
Front Row (l to r): A&K Guide Zaw Lyn, Thaung Htut (A&K Myanmar), Samuel Desmier (A&K Thailand)