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Visa-free entry for Japan and South Korea soon

The government will grant visa-free entry to Myanmar for citizens of Japan and South Korea and give visas on arrival to Chinese tourists, U Khin Zaw, an adviser of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism told The Myanmar Times on Sunday.

“On Friday, the government sent an official letter agreeing to give visa free entry to Japan and South Korea and visas-on-arrival (VOA) to Chinese tourists,” he said.

The ministry’s marketing strategy focuses on tourists from ASEAN, Japan, China and South Korea, rather than tourists from western countries because the northern Rakhine humanitarian crisis has negatively affected tourism from the West.

There has been an increase of 31 percent in tourists from China, 20pc from Thailand, 21pc from Malaysia and 2pc from Japan in the first four months of 2018 from the same period last year, according to the ministry.

“The number of tourists from South Korea is stable but has a potential to increase in the peak season,” said U Myo Win Nyut, director of the ministry.

The ministry recorded more than 1.2 million tourists at the end of April, among which 90,000 were Chinese.

“We will give VOA to Chinese group tours that come with tour companies. One or two hundred Chinese package tours are organised in Myanmar,” U Khin Zaw said.

The ministries of Hotels and Tourism, Labour, Immigration and Population and Foreign Affairs discussed implementation of visa-free travel for Japan and South Korea and VOA for China in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday.

“We need to discuss with departments such as Immigration and Foreign Affairs to get a solution to implementing the new visa policy. The pace of the process depends on the departments tasked with implementation,” said U Tint Thwin, director general of the Tourism Ministry.

Tourism in Myanmar from Eastern Europe fell by 8 percent and from Western Europe by 26 percent by the end of April, according to the ministry.

A tourism conference is scheduled this month in Nay Pyi Taw to address the nagging problems facing the sector.

The government has been finding ways to boost the country’s tourism industry which has been adversely affected by the festering northern Rakhine crisis.

Source: Myanmar Times

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