Popular destinations in Mandalay have seen a significant decline in the number of tourists arrivals this month, as the monsoon season has arrived.
The wet season runs from May to September.
“Visitor numbers have declined during May. Yet, tourists from Thailand and China visit Mandalay almost every day. In the past years, boat drivers had little work. Now, despite the recent decline in tourists, boat drivers still transport some visitors to their destinations,” said Soe Win, chairman of Taungthaman Boat Association.
During the travel season, Mandalay received a larger number of tourists with monthly arrivals above 35,000 in January and February. Tourist arrivals rose until April. Mandalay, the former capital and the second largest city in Myanmar, has drawn a large number of tourists every year. The city boasts cultural and natural attractions, including the royal palace, Taungthaman Lake and Mandalay Hill.
According to the region’s Immigration and National Registration Department, tourist arrivals from January to April this year amounted to about 200,000.
Soe Win added that normally, tourist arrivals decline in May, June and July but are up again in August. The high season is October to February.
“There are still tourists coming. Currently, Thai interpreters have work. Tour guides who can speak two or three languages have more chance of getting work as tourists visit Myanmar all the year round,” a tour guide said.
Mandalay is among popular destinations like Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda, Bagan, Inle Lake, Kyaikhto and Ngapali Beach that attracts a bulk of international visitors.
In 2013, Myanmar earned US$926 million from 2 million tourist visits. Tourist arrivals in 2014 and tourism revenue rose to 3.5 million and $1.14 billion, respectively. Recent figures encouraged the authorities that the anticipated annual tourism receipts would certainly reach US$10 billion in 2020.
The target for 2015 is now set at 4.5 million.
Most visitors to Myanmar last year were from Asia, especially from Thailand, Japan and China, which made up 67 per cent of tourist arrivals. It is also proved popular among British travellers. Myanmar is one of top 10 country destinations in a survey by British travel magazine, Wanderlust Travel. Bagan is also the only city from Myanmar making to the top 10 cities list, being the second after Laos’ Luang Prabang.
Many foreign hotel chains have opened and plan several hotels in various cities. Aggregate foreign investment in the hotel and tourism sector has reached $1.9 billion with 42 companies granted licences to construct hotels across the country mostly in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Kawthoung, Techilek and Myeik, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.
Source: Myanmar Eleven