Direct flights between Yogyakarta and Myanmar will start this year with the aim of boosting the number of tourists from Myanmar visiting the city and other places in Indonesia, reports the Jakarta Globe on February 11.
Indonesia’s ambassador to Myanmar Mr Ito Sumardi told media that only dozens of tourists from Myanmar visit Indonesia each year despite visa-free travel between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states.
“We are optimistic about it although we will have to compete with Singaporean and Malaysian airlines,” the ambassador said.
The Indonesian government has discussed the plan with the country’s flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia.
For majority-Buddhist Myanmar, Indonesia has a lot to offer, according to the ambassador. But the abundance of historical Buddhist temples in Indonesia – in particular the Borobudur, located not far from Yogyakarta – has gone undercapitalized so far.
“For the people of Myanmar, the Borobudur is not only an artifact but also a holy site, just like Medina is to Muslims,” Mr Ito said. “We have discussed plans to start a religious tour of temples in Indonesia. There are many tourists from Myanmar who are interested in visiting Buddhist temples in Indonesia, especially the Borobudur, but access is still limited.”