Flooding not putting a dent in tourist agendas

Despite flooding occurring in 11 of Myanmar’s 14 states and regions, tourism to the country has not been affected and travellers are still visiting the most popular destinations, tour operators say.

U Myat Thu, operations manager for Columbus Travel and Tours, told The Myanmar Times that flooding has not impacted major tourist destinations.

“Everything is operating as normal,” he said.

Tourists usually visit Bagan, Inle Lake and Mandalay during low season, none of which have been affected by flooding. “If we have clients whose plans include visiting flooded areas, we simply send them to alternate destinations. But so far we have not had any cancellations,” he said.

He added that typically there are not many package tours in low season, but this year there are fewer than normal.

“I think it has more to do with exchange rates with the euro and the dollar. We hope to see many more package tours in the coming high season,” he said.

A spokesperson from Interconnection Travel and Tours said flood-affected areas like Sittwe, Mrauk Oo and Monywa are rarely on tourist itineraries during low season.

“I don’t think people are avoiding bookings because of the flooding. They might choose other ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos instead, but that’s because they are less expensive to visit than Myanmar,” the spokesperson said.

But U Sai from Tango Travel and Tours said his company has cut back on business operations to focus on helping people in flood-affected regions.

“We have stopped nearly all of our travel itineraries because we want to contribute to relief efforts. Tourism is slow now anyway, and it will pick up again in the high season,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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