In spite of virus anxiety, Myanmar hopes to welcome 5 million tourists in 2020

Published on : Wednesday, January 29, 2020

In 2020, Myanmar is all prepared to achieve its target by drawing about 5 million tourists, even as fears about coronavirus cast a gloominess over the travel industry. “We’re well-prepared to prevent an outbreak of this virus,” Maung Maung Kyaw, head of the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, explained in a recent interview, citing coordination with the Health Ministry on a plan of action.


In China, the new coronavirus has taken lives of over 100 people and sickened thousands. One the top economies of Asia have deferred outbound group tours and have prevented the spread of this deadly virus, denting the outlook for regional tourism. “We’ve been screening for the disease at all international gateways,” Maung Maung Kyaw said in the capital, Naypyidaw.


In 2019, Myanmar received about 4.4 million visitors, a 23% rise from 2018 powered by swelling arrivals from Asia, according to government data. The number of Chinese tourists has doubled. The stigma of genocide allegations over the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority may discourage higher-spending visitors from Europe and the U.S. Officials have said harmful perceptions of the country are the biggest dangers in terms of tourism.


The tourism sector accounts about 7% of the economy and supports more than 1 million jobs, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.


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