Myanmar tourism arrivals recovering

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Myanmar Tourism Arrivals Recovering

Tourist arrivals in Myanmar are on the rise again despite international condemnation over the systematic campaign of violence of the country’s military against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Until last year, the growing debate over a tourism boycott has been vexing tourists, and the Rohingya issue contributed to a downturn in the arrival of tourists especially from European and other Western countries. The result was that the Myanmar tourism sector faced a challenging situation with a sharp decline of up to 20 per cent in arrivals of Western tourists with some organisations even calling to boycott the country entirely.

“But 2019 is making a turnaround,” said Hlaing Oo, deputy permanent secretary of Myanmar’s hotels and tourism ministry, according to Anadolu Agency.

The ministry estimated that tourist arrivals this year would exceed the expectation of six million after the rainy season from June to September, he said.

According to government data, the country has registered a total of 2.14 million tourists in the first six months of this year, a 24-per cent increase compared to the same period last year when they stood at 1.72 million.

Hlaing Oo said the arrival of tourists from some European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria showed a slight increase, but acknowledged that tourist arrivals from Asian countries, namely China, made up to a 90-per cent increase in 2019.

He noted that the arrival of Chinese tourists to Myanmar had nearly doubled since visa rules were relaxed in September 2018, with Mandalay and nearby Bagan being their favourite place to visit.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s tourism leaders are reaching out to the US travel market by cementing closer ties with the influential American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Myanmar Tourism Marketing, the official channel for promoting tourism in overseas markets, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ASTA in Yangon earlier in July.

Myanmar has also eased some visa requirements in the recent past. Visitors from Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland can now apply for visas on arrival when entering Myanmar through the country’s three international airports, where they will have to pay a $50 visa fee during a one-year trial period which will start on October 1, 2019.

Visitors from Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and South Korea are currently enjoying visa exemptions during a similar one-year trial period which started last October, and Indian and mainland Chinese tourists are also eligible for visas on arrival.

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Tourist arrivals in Myanmar are on the rise again despite international condemnation over the systematic campaign of violence of the country's military against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Until last year, the growing debate over a tourism boycott has been vexing tourists, and the Rohingya issue contributed to a downturn in the arrival of tourists especially from European and other Western countries. The result was that the Myanmar tourism sector faced a challenging situation with a sharp decline of up to 20 per cent in arrivals of Western tourists with some organisations even calling to boycott the country entirely. “But 2019...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Myanmar Tourism Arrivals Recovering

Tourist arrivals in Myanmar are on the rise again despite international condemnation over the systematic campaign of violence of the country’s military against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Until last year, the growing debate over a tourism boycott has been vexing tourists, and the Rohingya issue contributed to a downturn in the arrival of tourists especially from European and other Western countries. The result was that the Myanmar tourism sector faced a challenging situation with a sharp decline of up to 20 per cent in arrivals of Western tourists with some organisations even calling to boycott the country entirely.

“But 2019 is making a turnaround,” said Hlaing Oo, deputy permanent secretary of Myanmar’s hotels and tourism ministry, according to Anadolu Agency.

The ministry estimated that tourist arrivals this year would exceed the expectation of six million after the rainy season from June to September, he said.

According to government data, the country has registered a total of 2.14 million tourists in the first six months of this year, a 24-per cent increase compared to the same period last year when they stood at 1.72 million.

Hlaing Oo said the arrival of tourists from some European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria showed a slight increase, but acknowledged that tourist arrivals from Asian countries, namely China, made up to a 90-per cent increase in 2019.

He noted that the arrival of Chinese tourists to Myanmar had nearly doubled since visa rules were relaxed in September 2018, with Mandalay and nearby Bagan being their favourite place to visit.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s tourism leaders are reaching out to the US travel market by cementing closer ties with the influential American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Myanmar Tourism Marketing, the official channel for promoting tourism in overseas markets, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ASTA in Yangon earlier in July.

Myanmar has also eased some visa requirements in the recent past. Visitors from Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland can now apply for visas on arrival when entering Myanmar through the country’s three international airports, where they will have to pay a $50 visa fee during a one-year trial period which will start on October 1, 2019.

Visitors from Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and South Korea are currently enjoying visa exemptions during a similar one-year trial period which started last October, and Indian and mainland Chinese tourists are also eligible for visas on arrival.

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