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Mandalay attracts over half a million tourists

More than 500,000 foreign tourists visited Mandalay Region in the first 10 months of the year, topping last year’s annual figures, a senior official of the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism in Upper Myanmar said.

U San Yu, deputy director of the directorate, said over 490,000 foreign tourists visited Mandalay in 2018, and his office expects that figure to top 600,000 this year.

“A successful tourism industry requires everyone’s cooperation,” he said. “To attract more tourists, we need to provide better transportation and ease the visa process.”

Myanmar’s image has suffered in the eyes of the international community over its failure to address the Rakhine State humanitarian crisis, but Mandalay – known for its famous pagodas and other ancient sites – seems to be bucking the trend.

“Since the remaining months are the peak travel season, tourist numbers may rise more than expected,” he said.

Among the region’s top foreign visitors are the Chinese, who accounted for nearly 400,000, followed by Spanish, German, French, Italian, American and Indian tourists.

Visa rules were relaxed for Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese tourists last year to ease their access to the country.

U San Yu said there are plans to relax visa rules for Westerners as well.

Europeans became more interested in visiting Myanmar after the Bagan Archaeological Zone in Mandalay Region was named a World Heritage Site earlier this year, said U Myo Yi, head of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association (Mandalay).

“In previous years, tours pre-ordered by Europeans were cancelled, but that’s not happening this year,” he said.

Although the number of tourists is rising, it’s also important to consider the quality of tourists being attracted, U San Yu said.

He said Mandalay wants to attract the kind of tourists who obey the rules and do not damage the environment. – Translated

Source : Myanmar Times

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