Myanmar promotes alternative destinations to ease strain

MYANMAR is ramping up efforts to develop new destinations within the country as well as promote travel during rainy season in a bid to make its tourism industry more sustainable.

While the plans fall short of offering incentives to hoteliers and travel companies to develop destinations outside of key hubs – namely Yangon, Mandalay, Inle and Bagan – authorities hope they will help resolve some of the capacity issues affecting the industry.

Said Kyi Thein Ko, secretary-general of Myanmar Tourism Federation: “People can arrive in Yangon, spend some time sightseeing then move on to destinations such as Pha-an (in Kayin state), which has lovely hot springs and some unique local hotels. The (tourism) ministry is now also promoting Min Tak in Chin state, which is excellent for trekking.”

Tin Nwe Wynt, marketing manager at the federation, said they are also marketing travel during the so-called “green season”, or rainy season when tourists can enjoy room rates at discounts ranging from 20 to 50 per cent.

The South-east Asian nation has seen its tourism industry boom since international sanctions were lifted two years ago, putting increasing strain on key destinations, especially Yangon which has limited hotel capacity and where room rates are now some of the highest in the region (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 13, 2014).

ASEAN Tourism Forum will be held in Naypyidaw next January, the first time the event has been held in Myanmar. The country hopes to be able to offer visa-free travel to more ASEAN member states by that time, especially neighbouring Thailand.

Said Kyi Thein Ko: “(Thailand and Myanmar) have agreed on it at a government-to-government level, but there are some difficulties. Thailand only wants to grant visa-free travel through its airports, but our government wants to include visa-free travel via the borders too, so they are currently discussing this point.”

Source: TTG Asia Singapore

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