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Published on : Monday, December 12, 2016
In Myanmar, as of September data, 3.1 million tourists had visited the country. However, this figure was low compared to 3.3 million over the same period last year. But U Myint Htwe, director of the tourism ministry said that in spite of the drop in numbers, Myanmar tourism attracted US$3 billion in foreign investment across 56 projects as of the end of November.
Myanmar has also increased the number of hotel rooms for accommodating more tourists. But many travel industry operators are of the opinion that investors and tourism entrepreneurs are basing their information on flawed data, since majority of foreign visitors are day trippers coming from China or Thailand. Of the 3.3 million visitors by the end of September 2015, only 1.1 million arrived by international airport or port. U Ohn Maung, Minister for Hotels and Tourism said, “When the investors extend hotel projects based on this data, they [risk] losses because the real tourist number is more [like] 1.2 million visitors last year,” he said. “That’s why we intend to release the right figures such as how many real tourists visited and how many are day return trippers across the border.”
As put by Tourism ministry director U Myo Win Nyunt, the ministry will reassess the system for tourist arrivals in the country and is thinking of releasing a new data once in every two month. The tourism and hotel industry remains in need of investment in human resources and skilled labor.
U Ohn Maung is also expecting a 35% increase in visitors from Singapore after a visa exemption program starting between the two countries on December 1. He said, “Myanmar is safe, excellent to travel in the whole year round, and Myanmar food is certainly something to come back for over and over again.” Over 100,000 visitors from Myanmar went to Singapore last year; contrarily, only 40,000 visitors from Singapore arrived in Myanmar. In spite of this imbalance, it still gives Myanmar a lot of potential and makes its market attractive.