Agency owner launches Myanmar charter cruises

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A Vietnam-based travel agency owner plans to operate yacht charter cruises to Myanmar, starting this fall.

The 12-passenger yacht, Calisto, will sail to the Mergui Archipelago in southern Myanmar, said Eric Merlin, who also owns the travel agency Exotissimo in Saigon.

“The demand for Myanmar is swelling like nothing I’ve seen since Vietnam opened in the early 1990s,” said Merlin. “The Mergui Archipelago is just a few hours from Thailand’s Similan Islands, where we cruise regularly. Given all the changes in Myanmar, the lure north has been irresistible.”

The country was in the global spotlight late in 2011, when Hillary Clinton became the first secretary of state to visit in 50 years. The country is bordered by the Bay of Bengal, Thailand, India and China.

A spokesman for the company said weeklong charters of the ship, including captain and crew, cost $50,000. Merlin pays 15% commission to charter brokers, and agents who work through a broker can earn a percentage of the commission, he said.

The yacht has an in-house broker that can be contacted by email at [email protected]

For cruise news and updates, follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly.

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