Loikaw Lodge by the Lake is privately owned, by Swe Yi Myat, a Myanmar national, married to Jens Uwe Parkitny, a German. Both have ample experience in the travel industry. Swe Yi worked for a travel agency in Yangon until she eventually founded her own travel agency, Ancient Geographic Travels and Tours (www.ancientgeo.com), in 2009. Jens has worked more than 15 years for Expedia.com, an online travel agency that changed the way people searched and booked travel, and for Accor Asia Pacific, the fastest growing hotel development and management company in the region. The vision for Loikaw Lodge by the Lake started to form after both visited Loikaw in 2012, shortly after foreigners were allowed to visit Loikaw and surroundings. Both strongly believe in tourism as a catalyst for economic and social development and change, specifically in former conflict areas, if developed in a way that local communities and stakeholders benefit from it.
Being fully aware that it is challenging and risk inherent to develop even a small scale project in a region that was ravaged by conflict for more than five decades, they went ahead to realise their vision: a small but charming lodge that could serve as a role model for similar small hotel projects, not only for Kayah State but the wider region. After all, the large portion of visitors to Myanmar look exactly for this: small boutique hotels that reflect local architecture and craftmenship as well as respect tradition and fit nicely into the landscape.Locally made bricks and wood from the area were sourced from smaller and medium-sized businesses in Loikaw to maximize the benefits for the local economy already in the construction phase of Loikaw Lodge by the Lake. Most of the workers were and the majority of our employees is from the region.
The Loikaw Lodge management team is currently exploring exisiting and new ways how to best interact with local communities in villages, far and near, in order to provide a beneficial and enlightening experience for both visitors and hosts. In this context, Loikaw Lodge by the Lake fully supports the “Inclusive Tourism focussing on Kayah State” project that initiated community tourism based activities and is funded by The Netherlands. The project addresses the whole tourism value chain by integrating Kayah State’s local producers and service providers into the tourism value chains. What this means in practical terms: Loikaw Lodge only works with experienced guides that have been trained in community based tourism and are supportive of the respective initiatives of the local communities in the villages of Pan Phat (Kayan), Htar Nee Lar Leh and Daw Dema Gyi (Kayah) as well as Htekko (Kayaw).