Ameer Virani Product Manager – EXO Myanmar
Joining EXO Travel first as Sustainability Coordinator, Ameer’s responsibilities have since expanded to Product Manager, which entails the development of Product, seeking and creating new products in Myanmar. With a passion in sustainable travel, his approach in creating travel programs and touring itineraries often have a responsible aspect in them – this is in line with EXO Travel’s ‘Aim to be Responsible‘ as we strive to protect the natural environment and support local communities in all the destinations that we operate in.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR ROLE WITH EXO TRAVEL MYANMAR
My team and I are responsible for creating unforgettable and unique experiences for travelers throughout Myanmar. We want visitors to get up close and personal with the people and places of the Golden Land in a way that respects and benefits communities and the environment. That is why my focus is not only on creating, but also on thorough research to ensure that the hotels, guides, transport suppliers and activity providers we work with share our commitment to Responsible Tourism.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE?
The inability to be in a hundred places at once poses the biggest challenge. The tourism industry in Myanmar is rapidly evolving and there are more and more opportunities out there for us to create amazing experiences for EXO clients. Keeping on top of everything is a challenging but fun task involving interaction with many people in various destinations. Another major challenge lies in getting our Responsible Tourism message through to all stakeholders and ensuring it is understood, without constantly being on the ground with them.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
I would say my greatest achievement lies in the progress I have seen among my colleagues during my time here in the Yangon office. The slow but sure process by which sustainability is becoming ingrained in the company culture is very encouraging because I have long believed that destination management companies like EXO have such a great potential to ensure tourism creates better places for people to both live in and visit.
It was inspirational to see the positive impact tourism companies can have on local communities. The EXO Foundation has supported the creation of a library….. amazing to see the place buzzing with children keen to pick up books they would not otherwise have access to. – Ameer Virani, EXO Myanmar
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE LOCATION IN MYANMAR THAT YOU HAVE VISITED AND WHY?
Maung Shwe Lay – a small fishing village south of Ngapali on Myanmar’s western coast. I found two things particularly memorable. Firstly, it was inspirational to see the positive impact tourism companies can have on local communities. The EXO Foundation has supported the creation of a library, which it has funded since 2012. It was amazing to see the place buzzing with children keen to pick up books they would not otherwise have access to. The second most memorable part was the perfect combination in the village of natural beauty, tremendous hospitality and a beautiful insight into the life of local fishermen.
IS THERE ANYWHERE THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN YET IN MYANMAR THAT INSPIRES YOU TO VISIT?
I have always been intrigued by caves so I would love to visit Hpa-An in Kayin state where there are several of them. It is an up and coming destination and from what I have heard and seen in photos that is no surprise. I am also a big fan of any water-based activity so the opportunity to get a boat through some of those caves would be a lot of fun and experiencing the bat cave at sunset would make for that inspirational, picture-perfect moment.