Govt reiterates commitment to attract Asian tourists

The Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population has yet to release an official statement cementing an August 1 decision with the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism to suspend the practice of requiring tourists to show US$1000 in cash upon arriving in Myanmar.

According to the statement released to tour companies by the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, the $1,000 show money requirement will be suspended by Immigration for tourists from Japan, South Korea, China, Macau and Hong Kong starting October 1.

However, an August 24 statement issued by the Consulate-General of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Thailand still listed the requirement for all Japan and South Korean tourists to hold $1,000 in show money upon entering Myanmar.

U Aye Lwin, permanent secretary of the Immigration Department told The Myanmar Times on August 27 that the ministry will issue an official announcement about removing the $1,000 show money requirement before October 1.

“The process is not complete yet and we are still working on and negotiating with related ministries but we will release the official announcement for the suspension of the $1000 show money requirement before October 1,” he said.

In an attempt to boost tourism, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population is planning to roll out a slew of incentives to attract tourists from the region to Myanmar. These include visas on arrival (VOA) for tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau from October 1, while those from Japan and South Korea will enjoy visa exemptions.

It also agreed to suspend the show money requirement, which was first introduced on July 24 under new visa arrangements, after the move met with backlash from tourism stakeholders. However, an official announcement has yet to be made.

According to the original announcement of Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, the tourists are allowed to enter and leave Myanmar from all three international airports – Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Yangon as well as the Yangon port and all international border gates at Tachileik, Myawaddy, Kawthaung and Hteekee.

The tourists are also required to show a return air ticket or air ticket to another country during their stay in Myanmar, which is a maximum of 30 days. The industry has also requested that this requirement be removed however there have been no further developments on this front.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism has already appointed a Japanese actor as Myanmar’s tourism ambassador last week. The move, which comes after a slew of other visa exemptions, is expected to help double the number of Japanese visitors to Myanmar to 200,000 over the next year, said U Ohn Maung, Minister of the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.

Source: Myanmar Times

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