Visitor numbers to Myanmar slump significantly

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Despite a surge in tourism investment, the number of foreign visitors to Myanmar in 2016 dropped a staggering 38 per cent to below three million in 2016, reaching the level of 2014, Myanmar Eleven quotes statistics from Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. This is a far cry away from the six million visitors the ministry predicted in March last year. In 2015, statistic show that 4.68 million foreigners visited Myanmar.

The ministry did not specify the reason, and official numbers have not been published yet on its website. However, it seems that the massive inflow of business and leisure visitors in the past ebbed away last year as challenges in terms of tourism infrastructure and accommodation persisted, including overpriced hotel rooms, as well as concerns over the political transition in the country mounted.

Broken down, most of the visitors to Myanmar were from Thailand which means more of a border traffic rather than genuine tourism. The next largest source countries were China, Japan and South Korea. Visitors from Singapore, Malaysia, India and Taiwan followed. 

The country also received almost 180,800 tourists from Western Europe, mostly from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, and 12,700 from Eastern Europe, mostly from Russia. There were around 64,500 US visitors and 11,900 from Canada.

Other problems with traveling in Myanmar is that some parts of the country are still off-limits or need special permission to be visited. Private accommodation is not allowed, so travelers need either stick to hotels or licensed guest houses which are heavily taxed by the government.

Some remote resorts have beautiful scenery, but the transportation condition there are poor. Many of them only can be reached after hour-long ride in rickety buses and trucks. Cars can only be rented with a driver which increases travel costs. The management of heritage sites in Myanmar is also insufficient, with many of them dilapidated and hard to reach.

Despite a leap in telecommunication development, Internet coverage is still unsatisfactory outside the main cities. Credit cards are not widely accepted, and there is a lack of ATMs and money exchanges.

On the other hand, the country has made a step forward with the launch of a well-received  e-Visa system.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Despite a surge in tourism investment, the number of foreign visitors to Myanmar in 2016 dropped a staggering 38 per cent to below three million in 2016, reaching the level of 2014, Myanmar Eleven quotes statistics from Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. This is a far cry away from the six million visitors the ministry predicted in March last year. In 2015, statistic show that 4.68 million foreigners visited Myanmar.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Despite a surge in tourism investment, the number of foreign visitors to Myanmar in 2016 dropped a staggering 38 per cent to below three million in 2016, reaching the level of 2014, Myanmar Eleven quotes statistics from Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. This is a far cry away from the six million visitors the ministry predicted in March last year. In 2015, statistic show that 4.68 million foreigners visited Myanmar.

The ministry did not specify the reason, and official numbers have not been published yet on its website. However, it seems that the massive inflow of business and leisure visitors in the past ebbed away last year as challenges in terms of tourism infrastructure and accommodation persisted, including overpriced hotel rooms, as well as concerns over the political transition in the country mounted.

Broken down, most of the visitors to Myanmar were from Thailand which means more of a border traffic rather than genuine tourism. The next largest source countries were China, Japan and South Korea. Visitors from Singapore, Malaysia, India and Taiwan followed. 

The country also received almost 180,800 tourists from Western Europe, mostly from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, and 12,700 from Eastern Europe, mostly from Russia. There were around 64,500 US visitors and 11,900 from Canada.

Other problems with traveling in Myanmar is that some parts of the country are still off-limits or need special permission to be visited. Private accommodation is not allowed, so travelers need either stick to hotels or licensed guest houses which are heavily taxed by the government.

Some remote resorts have beautiful scenery, but the transportation condition there are poor. Many of them only can be reached after hour-long ride in rickety buses and trucks. Cars can only be rented with a driver which increases travel costs. The management of heritage sites in Myanmar is also insufficient, with many of them dilapidated and hard to reach.

Despite a leap in telecommunication development, Internet coverage is still unsatisfactory outside the main cities. Credit cards are not widely accepted, and there is a lack of ATMs and money exchanges.

On the other hand, the country has made a step forward with the launch of a well-received  e-Visa system.

 

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