Myanmar gives more tourists visa-on-arrival access in move to open up

Tourists from Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Russia have been given visa-on-arrival access for US$50 each at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports. Starting from October 1, passport holders from the six countries will no longer require pre-arranged approval, the authorities said.

“We hope the new regulations to ease access to Myanmar will lead to more travelers from around the world,” said Daw May Myat Mon Win, chair of the Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association.

Last year, tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau were granted visa-free entry into Myanmar, while Indian and Chinese nationals were also given visas-on-arrival in a move to draw more visitors from Asia. As a result, Asian tourists to Myanmar have risen this year.

In the eight months from January to August for example, Japanese tourist arrivals increased by 24 percent compared to the same period last year, said Daw May Myat Mon Win.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, more than 82,000 Japanese tourists visited the country in the first eight months of the year compared to 65,000 last year.

Aiming to attract foreign visitors, promotion programs are being offered on a yearly basis and the Japanese market is crucial for Myanmar, with more visitors are expected to come this year’s peak season, said Daw May Myat Mon Win.

In an effort to attract more Japanese tourists, the government, Myanmar Tourism Federation and Myanmar Restaurant Association will promote the country’s tourism industry during the JETRO Expo in Osaka this month.

“There are many tourist destinations in Myanmar in which Japanese tourists might be interested to visit in Yangon, Bagan and Inle,” said Daw May Myat Mon Win. She added that the association has also invited Japanese bloggers and journalists to Myeik to introduce the region as a tourist attraction.

Myeik is among the nine destinations Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association is promoting. The others are Mogok, Hsipaw, Loikaw, Hpa-an, Kalaw and Mount Victoria. As a result, the country has seen tourism numbers grow by 40pc in 2019.

“We must continue our efforts to promote Myanmar as a tourism destination as we are also competing with Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia,” said Daw May Myat Mon Win.

Source: Myanmar Times

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