Tourism and travel sector to continue upward trend

Myanmar’s travel and tourism sector is set to grow 9.5 percent in 2014 to reach K933 billion (US$971 million) as the number of international visitors to the country, especially from Asia, is expected to continue climbing, says a report published on March 19 by the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) research group.

According to the Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2014report, direct capital into the tourism and travel sector accounted for K849 billion ($885 million) last year, or 1.6pc of the total gross domestic product (GDP), with capital likely to grow an average 6.9pc annually over the next ten years reaching up to 1.8pc of total GDP.

“Domestic travel spending generated 68.8% of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2013 compared with 31.2% for visitor exports [i.e. foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts],” the study said.

With tourism on the rise, total investment in the sector is expected to grow 4.3pc year on year, up from K108.3 billion ($187.8 million) in 2013, while employment in the sector is expected to grow 6.5pc to reach 877,500 jobs in 2014.

“[Sustaining growth] will require governments to implement more open visa regimes and to adopt intelligent rather than punitive taxation policies,” said David Scowsill, chief executive of WTTC. “It is also critical that public and private partnerships ensure that long-term infrastructure and human resource needs are planned responsibly and sustainably, to absorb the inevitable growth that we are forecasting.”

Despite marked improvements for the tourism and travel sectors, Myanmar is still far behind its more developed regional neighbours, the study shows.

Direct investment in Thailand’s travel and tourism sectors reached $34.9 billion last year, compared with just $971 million in Myanmar. Capital investment in those sectors in Indonesia last year reached $15.5 billion, dwarfing Myanmar’s $187.8 million injection.

Source: Myanmar Times

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