TOURIST arrivals to Myanmar have increased again the first-half of this year, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
From January to June, 470,747 visitors entered the country, up 23.1 per cent year-on-year. About 71.9 per cent, or 338,331, were from Asia, including 80,311 from Thailand, the largest single group; 35,803 from China; and 35,650 from Japan.
Over 17 per cent, or 79,767, hailed from Europe, with the largest group from France (17,517), followed by the UK (16,508) and Germany (12,424).
“The performance is pretty good, but the challenges remain,” said Aung Myat Kyaw, managing director of Orchestra Travel in Yangon, adding that the shortage of hotel rooms, especially in Yangon, Mandalay and Inle Lake region, would continue to be the major challenge until 2016 (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 13, 2014).
Aung Myat Kyaw said his inbound travellers come mostly from France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavian nations, and the top destinations in the country remained Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Ngapali Beach.
FIT numbers increased five per cent year-on-year to 150,629 while travellers on packaged tours increased 11 per cent to 74,935. Increases were also recorded for travellers on business and social visas, at 26.8 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.
U Htay Aung, union minister of Hotels and Tourism, recently said that Myanmar will endeavour to hit three million visitor arrivals in 2014.
“The advantage is Myanmar is a chair of ASEAN this year and we will be hosting many meetings, particularly ASEAN Summit, ministerial meetings, senior official meetings and working group meetings.”
But the country is not resting on its laurels. Myanmar’s tourism minister Htay Aung said at this year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum in January that citizens of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei should be able to visit Myanmar visa-free by end-2014 (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 21, 2014).
Myanmar has signed visa waiver agreements with the Philippines (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 8, 2014) and Indonesia (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 14, 2014) since.
Source: TTG Asia