Published on : Friday, November 15, 2019
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism recently released data that showed that from January to September this year, more than 1.3 million foreign tourists visited Myanmar. Compared to the same period last year, this represents 390,000 more visitors or a 41 percent increase.
The ministry said that this increase can be attributed to more visitors coming from Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and China, which have been the targets of the government’s “Look-East policy” for tourism.
Tourists from China, Japan and South Korea have increased significantly with the Myanmar government relaxing visa requirements for travellers from those countries in October last year.
Currently, visas on arrival are available for more than 50 countries at Myanmar’s international airports in Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw. Under this visa, one can stay in Myanmar for up to 28 days. On October 1, the government also extended visas on arrival to visitors from Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Australia, for attracting more travelers from western countries.
However, industry stakeholders and experts opine that the government has to do much more to attract western tourists and boost the country’s sluggish tourism industry.
From January to September this year, some 120,000 European travelers entered Myanmar, marking a 1 percent decline compared to the same period a year before,.
According to the ministry’s data, visitors from Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and Poland stay in Myanmar for an average of 14 days and are among the highest spenders during their stay.