Growing tourist numbers a threat for Myanmar

Published on : Thursday, August 31, 2017

small-myanmar-townThere are many areas that have unfortunately earned themselves reputations as hedonistic playgrounds for young westerners. However, one particular country offers a different setting. Myanmar eased its border restrictions a few years ago, with tourism increasing from 300,000 visitors in 2010 to 4.7 million in 2015.


Myanmar’s appeal instead lies in its small, simple pleasures — a solo bike ride weaving through isolated temples, a hike through the untouched mountains or a sunset boat ride in the vast lakes. But as tourist figures increase and the country rides through a period of rapid change, is this beautiful country in danger? For a long time Myanmar – also known as Burma – was closed to the outside world. In 1996, the leader of the country’s pro-democracy movement Aung San Suu Kyi urged tourists to stay away, as their money would go straight into the hands of the country’s oppressive then-rulers.

Fast forward to 2017, the changes here are astounding. WiFi has gone from virtually non-existent to readily available across the country’s growing number of international hotels, shopping malls and restaurants. All sorts of world cuisines – Italian, Chinese, Indian, Thai – can now be ordered from the same menu. A SIM card will now set you back only $A1.50, and there are now more than 45 million mobile phone subscriptions in Myanmar.
With all these rapid developments, there are also impending jeopardizes.


The government needs to draw suitable rules and regulations on tourisms. At the same time, the local people need to be educated about how and why we need to protect our destinations.


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